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What’s Next for Pascal?

Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins: SHOWTIME Champion
Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins: SHOWTIME Champion

By Steve Kim


Yvon Michel will be an interested observer of the proceedings at the Staples Center this weekend where WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins faces Chad Dawson. Michel’s company, GYM, represents the man who once held this title and has faced both men, Jean Pascal. What takes place on Saturday night will play a large part in determining their future.
 
But Michel is still disappointed at the inability to close a fight with IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud and he took some exception to some of the comments made by Cloud’s promoter, Don King, as it related to those negotiations (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/sub-lead/the-curious-case-of-tavoris-cloud ).
 
Michel told Maxboxing on Monday afternoon, “Look, I’m very, very surprised that we haven’t been able to make the deal. We started negotiating over the phone. Don invited me to Ft. Lauderdale (where DKP’s offices are located) to see him. He said, ‘We’ll finish face-to-face.’ So I went there and so we sat from two in the afternoon till eight at night. Everything seemed to be alright. The deal was 50/50 on the gate, 50/50 on the HBO money. [King] wanted to keep the international TV, so I said, ‘OK, if you keep international TV, I’ll keep Canadian television.’ He said, ‘OK.’ He asked for a rematch. I said yes. He said, ‘After a rematch if it’s 1-1, we do a third one.’ I said ‘OK.’”
 
According to Michel, the deal breaker was when King demanded options on his fighter. Then he relented to give him a piece of the Pascal pie in future bouts that did not involve Hopkins, Dawson or Lucian Bute. Michel explained, “[King] was insisting and insisting to have options, so I said, ‘Look, I’ll give you options but without one of those three guys.’”
 
Michel also took exception to King labeling Pascal a ‘loser.’ To him, it doesn’t matter if Cloud has a belt because Pascal has something even more important than a world title- he has a large constituency he can consistently draw upon in Montrealwhere he plays second fiddle only to Bute. Pascal, by all objective standards, is one of the biggest draws in North America.
 
“Look, I don’t know how much money Cloud made in his last couple fights but Jean Pascal made near $5 million and that’s not because of American television but because of the market that we have developed here for him. He’s making more money on non-title fights than Cloud is making defending his title. If Don would have said, ‘Look, I have a similar fight deal in Miami.’ We would’ve said, ‘Yes, right away.’”
 
With or without Cloud, Pascal will move ahead with his business. His living, unlike most American boxers’, is not solely reliant on license fees from the premium cable networks.
 
“It was a great opportunity. Look, it’s a tough fight. Jean Pascal and Tavoris Cloud is a tough fight and I have to say that for Jean Pascal. he always aims for the toughest fights out there. He fought Carl Froch in his hometown. He fought Adrian Diaconu twice. [Diaconu] was undefeated when he fought [Pascal] the first time. He fought Chad Dawson when [Dawson] was undefeated, one of the best pound-for-pound He was number five by Ring magazine. He fought Bernard Hopkins. And because Hopkins and Dawson were busy, so he said, ‘The best guy out there is Tavoris Cloud. Let’s try to make a deal,’ and this is what we tried to do,” said Michel, who says that his man is scheduled to go again in Montreal on December 10th.
 
“We’re probably going to wait till after the Hopkins-Dawson fight to decide what we’re going to do,” he says. “We might fight Zsolt Erdei or fight Chris Henry- Henry’s not happy with the deal he has to fight Ismayl Sillakh in Russia. We have time. We’ve got to take a look at what’s going on with the winner. The Hopkins-Dawson fight and we might make a decision right after.”
 
So will Pascal-Cloud negotiations resume in 2012?

“What we were told- and again, we never went to Don King and said, ‘Look, we have HBO. It was not that way,” claimed Michel, “We were told it was a fight that Kery Davis [of HBO Sports] told me, ‘It’s a fight that I love and it’s a weight division where HBO is investing and it’s an intriguing fight and for sure, it’s an interesting fight.’ Jean Pascal, when he fought on Showtime with Hopkins, it was the best rating in the last three years on Showtime. When he fought Hopkins on HBO, it was the best rating on HBO since [Chris] Arreola and [Vitali] KIitschko two years before. And we’re convinced that a Cloud-Pascal fight would be exciting and entertaining. It’s a fight that HBO would buy but what we were told is, ‘Make the deal and we’ll find a date.’ And when I sat with Don King, he said, ‘Look, I don’t need to talk to Kery Davis. I talk to [HBO President] Michael Lombardo and definitely I can have an HBO date. We come to an agreement, we can move forward.’ The expectation on his side, he would have made something like $1.5 million. I don’t know how much he pays Cloud but Cloud wants to get paid a seven-number figure and I believe he deserves it.
 
“With that kind of deal, [King] would’ve been able to pay [Cloud] that kind of money.”
 
 

BLAME IT ON THE GOOS(S)E(N)?
 
My man Jake Donovan at Boxingscene.com was the first to report on the purse bid won by Top Rank for the WBA bantamweight title bout between Rico Ramos and Guillermo Rigondeaux (http://www.boxingscene.com/ramos-rigondeaux-purse-bid-won-by-top-rank--44787). 
 
So after all that stink raised by Dan Goossen a few weeks ago, they don’t even make a bid and in the process, cost Ramos a substantial amount of money? And to boot, deprive him of an opportunity to fight on a high-profile show like the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II card at Madison Square Garden?  

“That again shows the craziness in this business,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank, who was befuddled by the whole situation. “If he felt that the offer was wrong or so forth, I respect that, even though in my version, [Goossen] agreed to everything. But OK, so he changed his mind or he says I had offered more money but now, if you’re not going to bid at all on the thing- which he didn’t bid, what are you talking about?! Why put everybody through all this trouble and angst and end up with less money? What is the game plan?”
 
It turns out that Top Rank, who was represented by Carl Moretti, was the only promoter to bid on this bout. Now both boxers stand to make less money. “Blame Dan Goossen,” said Arum, whose initial plan is to put this fight on December 17th at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma on a “Top Rank Live” telecast. “But we’ll take care of our fighter.”
 
As for Moretti, well, at least he got to see Panama.
 
“I saw the canal...it’s still there,” he quipped.
 
HAYE FEVER
 
Like any other statements or promises of retirements from prizefighters, the reports of heavyweight David Haye calling it a day have to be taken with a grain of salt. But I think @FauxBobArum said it best when he tweeted: “If reports of David Haye retiring are true, I’d like to thank him for sparing us from the Vitali fight.”
 
(By the way, @FauxBobArum is hilarious, definitely worth a follow.)
 
FALL FLURRIES
 
Wealth TV will televise Don King’s card on Nov. 5th that features Guillermo Jones...I saw the documentary “JC Chavez” on ESPN Classic (aired as part of Hispanic Heritage Month) and I enjoyed it. There was this great scene where the great Chavez tells his son before a fight that he has to focus on keeping his weight down in-between fights- and this was in 2005!...Speaking of purse bids, nobody bid on the fight held by the IBF between Sechew Powell and Deandre Latimore. So if nobody bids on a fight, does it make a sound?...Speaking of docs, I’d love to see one on Al Davis from HBO Sports. Love him or hate him, his impact on the game and business of football cannot be denied. He was both a pariah and pioneer...I think the Bears’ QB, Jay Cutler, takes more clean hits than your average heavy bag at the Wild Card Boxing Club. A flawed system plus a bad O-line and having no real elite wide receiver is a recipe for disaster...If I’m the Arizona Wildcats, I hire “The Pirate” Mike Leach to lead my football program...I think the formula for Coke will be released before the pay-per-view figures for Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.


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