by Jenna JayIn my latest edition of "On The Ropes" boxing radio, I had a chance to catch up with WBC Light Heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16KOs) who was set to fight Tavoris Cloud on August 11th, but had to pull out due to a injured right hand. Jean touched on a variety of topics including the injury, postponement, his views on the light heavyweight division, Ward-Pascal, steroids in boxing & much, much more. Here is what he had to say.
(Exclusive Interview by Jenna J)
Jenna: Thereís been a latest development in your upcoming fight with Tavoris Cloud, you were supposed to fight him on August 11th, you sustained a hand injury to your right hand, can you tell your fans a little bit about what happened?
Pascal: The thing happened 6 weeks ago, maybe 8 weeks ago. I was sparring; I was doing easy, light sparring. I threw a punch with my right hand, I felt something. It wasnít that bad when it happened, but then I went to see the doctor, and my hand and everything was feeling really, really fragile and really, really sensitive. We thought that maybe, after like 2-3 weeks, that it would be fine, but every week my hands were still painful, and now weíre only 2 weeks away from the fight and I canít take any chance to walk into that fight with one arm/one hand. So thatís why we decided to postpone the fight.
Jenna: How tough was it for you to make that decision? How tough was it for you to say ĎAlright, I have to postpone the fightí?
Pascal: It was really, really, really tough. I waited until the last, last second. I was telling my promoter, my doctor, and my coaches that the only way I don't fight is if you cut off my leg. But at the end of the day, I thought about it and I said ĎIím not healthy enough to fight Tavoris Cloud, and I need my both hands, I need to be healthy, because Tavoris Cloud is a tough fighter, heís a great champion. So If I go out there and I know that my hands are not 100% correct, then itíd be too risky for me.
Jenna: What working dates are you having for the fight, when do you actually think youíll get into the ring with Tavoris Cloud?
Pascal: Honestly, I really donít know. The doctor said I had to rest for a month, and I canít use my right hand for a month, but my promoter was telling me it maybe October 13th, but I donít know for sure if Iíll be able to fight at that date. So right now theyíre trying to find a date, trying to work something out.
Jenna: Now Jean, you have already been out of the ring for 14 months, and now youíre going to have at least an additional couple of months, do you ever think that with all that time out of the ring, that you will show ring rust, no matter how much youíve trained?
Pascal: Honestly, I donít know, and I donít want to think about that. Iím a professional, and Iíve been doing this (boxing) for 18 years. Of course this is the first time that I have gotten away from the ring that long, but I was still in the gym I was still training really hard. But of course there will be a little bit ware in the first two rounds, but I donít think Iím going to suffer ring rust because I was feeling great in this training camp. My skills were there, my reflexes were there and I was ready to go. Itís only my hand.
Jenna: Besides being fully healthy when you face Tavoris Cloud, do you think you can gain anything else by having a little more time to prepare and study?
Pascal: Everything happens for a reason, I guess, so Iím going to have extra time to get ready, and like that Ė Iím not going to have any excuses if anything happens. Obviously, I want to go there fully prepared because I told Cloud to bring his A-game, and thatís what I want to bring, also. The night of the fight, I want to bring my A+ game. So right now I'm going to stay in the gym and just slow down the training a little bit, not use my hands, and stay in shape, so whenever they have a date, I will be ready.
Jenna: What do you see in Tavoris Cloud as a fighter?
Pascal: Cloud is hungry, and that is the most dangerous tool he has right now against me, because he is hungry and he wants to make his name on me. Itís a good tool against me, because he knows that if he beats he will reach the next level, he is going to reach elite fighter, he is going reach the millions and everything, so I know he is going to be ready but I donít think thatís going to happen unfortunately for him, and I am going to be two time world champion.
Jenna: Jean, your last defeat obviously in a rematch against Bernard Hopkins, and one of the times we interviewed you, you said you learned a lot from that fight, what kind of experience do you expect to take a fight with Tavoris Cloud?
Pascal: I did 24 rounds with Bernard Hopkins, 11 rounds with Chad Dawson; I am not a prospect anymore. I am not green, and since my last defeat, I have worked harder than ever before, this is only progression, victory is in my future. Like I said before, this fight is for the fans and I am more determined than ever to win this fight
Jenna: What will it mean to you to regain a championship at LHW?
Pascal: It means a lot, you know, it's my future. If I win this fight it will restate what everybody already knows, that I am a champion, this fight is very critical, so all my intention and focus is on Cloud right now.
Jenna: Jean, quite a lot has happened since we last had you on the show. Bernard Hopkins lost his title to Chad Dawson, a man youíve already beat. What were your thoughts on that fight?
Pascal: I think that was a good fight. Bernard was made for Dawson, and Dawson is a skilled southpaw boxer. Dawson was really a bad style for Bernard, so I think it was a good match up for Dawson, but I know for sure if I have to fight Dawson again, I am still going to be the winner, but right now my focus is on Tavoris Cloud.
Jenna: You mention your focus is on Tavoris Cloud, but what are your thoughts about Chad Dawsonís upcoming fight in September, heíll be facing off against SMW champ Andre Ward.
Pascal: The fight should be a blockbuster, thatís two great fighters at their prime, I am really proud of them, that they have taken that fight, because the fans want to see the best versus the best, and they are two champions, two great champions, and may the best man win.
Jenna: Back to Bernard Hopkins, he is 47 now; do you think he should continue to fight? If he does do you think he has anything to prove?
Pascal: If I am Bernard, if Bernard was to win a fight, I would have a problem with that, this is the body, and this is the brain. But I suggest to Bernard in his next fight he should take the test, because itís going to prove to the rest of the world that he is a clean fighter, and weíre in a clean fight, because I donít understand why a legend declined to take a drug test to show the world that he is clean, and he has nothing to hide. When you donít have anything to hide you take the test, so thatís why I am so proud about Tavoris Cloud, that he is taking the test. He says I am clean, and I have no problem, and I am going to show the world I am a clean fighter, and weíre in a clean sport.
Jenna: You bring up something interesting, thatís a hot topic going on in boxing today, steroid in boxing. Antonio Tarver recently tested positive, and other noteworthy fighters have tested positive, what do you think about the steroid problem we seem to have in our sport?
Pascal: Right now, I donít know if I have anything much to say about all of this, but I think that boxing is a clean sport, we are clean fighters, and for the business of this sport we should all take the test before the fight.
Jenna: You know the subject of a test is a big issue in the biggest fight in the sport, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, what do you think about that?
Pascal: Right now I donít know if that fights going to happen one day, because Bradley just beat Pacquiao, so thatís going to be hard to fake, right now Floyd is P4P, he proved to everyone he is clean, heís taking the test, he took the test, he take the test, and any fighter will take the test, thatís model, a real model, thatís a real HOF, because he has nothing to hide, and thatís why he is taking the test.
Jenna: Another thing interesting in the boxing scene, which I really want to get your views on, is Lucian Bute lost too Carl Froch not long back, you definitely have interest in Carl yourself, just curious what you thought about that fight?
Pascal: This is boxing, you win some you lose some, and this is boxing. Bute is a good fighter, and right now weíre going to see if Lucian can be great, and can come back stronger, and weíre going to be able to say he is going to be great; but right now he lost, which is not a big deal, because like I said you win some and you lose some, but if heís tough mentally he is going to come back stronger.
Jenna: Jean, with the Olympics starting and you having been a 2004 representative of Canada, can you tell the people listening out there what It take to be an Olympian?
Pascal: Honestly guys, it's really simple, hark work, dedication, discipline, and passion. With those 4 keys anything is possible in life.
Jenna: Ok, well I just have a few more questions for you Jean, and this one is about Tavoris Cloud. He is sitting out there. Heís waiting. He wants to fight you. Is there anything you want you want to say to him?
PASCAL: I heard Cloud said that he doesnít believe my hand injury is real, he feels that Iím unprepared for this fight. The only thing that I can tell him is ĎLook, I was a champion, Iím a former champion, but Iím still champion in my mind. Every fight I came fully prepared. Iím not scared of Tavoris Cloud. He said I might be scared of him. Like, listen son, I fought Bernard Hopkins twice. I did 24 rounds with Hopkins, 11 rounds with Dawson, so Iím not going to be scared of Tavoris Cloud.í Of course, heís a great boxer; heís a good boxer and has skill. But I arenít scared of no body, Tavoris Cloud hasnít got shit on me.
JENNA: To the fans out there, the ones that want to see your fight, is there anything you want to say to them?
PASCAL: Guys, Iím really sorry that I postponed the fight, but I think that was the best decision. I postponed the fight for you guys, because I respect you, and it wasnít fair to go in the fight and know that Iím not ready. You guys paid a good price to go and see me perform at my highest level. Thatís what Iím going to bring for you to my next fight.
I would like to send a special thanks to Ashley, Tim and Jay who helped bring this interview to the boxing readers.