HBO Boxing Preview: Pascal vs. Bute, Perez vs. Takam

By: William Holmes

Over 20,000 tickets have already been sold for Saturday night’s boxing card at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Canada is a hot spot for world championship boxing and the Canadian crowd is known for being very supportive and vocal for their home town fighters.

However on Saturday night the crowd will likely be split since both Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal currently call Canada home and have a large following there. This will be the first big boxing match televised on either HBO or Showtime and there are big stakes involved for both Bute and Pascal. A loss will be devastating for their careers but a victory for either will likely lead to high profile and profitable bouts in the light heavyweight division.

The following is a preview of the televised portion of Saturday’s card.

Mike Perez (20-0) vs. Carlos Takam (29-1); Heavyweights

Mike Perez’s biggest win of his career has ironically led to the toughest challenge of his career. The last time Mike Perez was in the ring he gave Magomed Abdusalamov the first loss of his career in a dominating performance on HBO. However, Abdusalamov had swelling on his brain and was on the brink of death.

It’s the type of victory that will perhaps linger in Perez’s mind for the rest of his life and it may take away some of that killer instinct he has inside the ring.

Perez is five years younger than his opponent but will be giving up nearly two inches in height. They both come from a deep amateur background but it is Takam who has the Olympic experience.

On paper, Takam is the more powerful boxer. He has twenty three stoppages to his credit, including four of his last five bouts. Perez only has twelve stoppage victories and only one in his last five.

Takam has spent his entire career fighting in France against sub-par competition. His biggest victory to date was an 8th round TKO over the then forty year old Michael Grant, and an 11th round TKO over the then forty two year old Frans Botha. In May of 2012 he defeated a 7-34-5 Tomas Mrazek.

Needless to say, this is a huge step up in competition for Takam.

Perez has been tested and has fought all over the glove. He defeated Tye Fields in the prizefighter tournament in 2011, he defeated Travis Walker in May of 2013 in Germany, and he also defeated the previously mentioned Magomed Abdusalamov at Madison Square Garden in November of this year.

It will be a shocking upset if Perez were to lose to Takam, but it will more intriguing to see how he reacts after his tragic bout with Abdusalamov.

Jean Pascal (28-2) vs. Lucian Bute (31-1); Light Heavyweights

Canada’s current most successful boxer is World Champion Adonis Stevenson, but the winner of Saturday’s main event will place himself at a possible lucrative bout with the “Superman”.

Jean Pascal will be about three inches shorter than Bute, but he has more experience fighting in the light heavyweight division than the former super middleweight champion. This will only be Bute’s second bout in the light heavyweight division.

Pascal is two years younger than Bute, but has seven less knockouts. In fact, Pascal has only stopped one of his past five opponents and has only fought three times since 2011. Bute has stopped three of his last five opponents and has fought five times since 2011.

However, it should be noted that Bute was demolished by Carl Froch in May of 2012 and declined to exercise his rematch clause against the Cobra. Pascal’s last loss was by a close decision to Bernard Hopkins in May of 2011 and he’s been surprisingly inactive ever since then.

Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds with Pascal competing in the 2004 Olympics and both boxers have been tested throughout their careers.

Pascal has defeated the likes of Silvio Branco, Adrian Diaconu (x2), and Chad Dawson. Pascal’s only losses have come to Carl Froch and the previously mentioned Bernard Hopkins. Bute has defeated the likes of Librado Andrade (x2), William Joppy, Sakio Bika, Glen Johnson, and Denis Grachev.

It’s going to be a close fight and ring rust will be a factor for both boxers. Pascal however has shown that he can fade late in a fight. He started off strong against Hopkins before giving up the late rounds and he was fading badly in his victory against Chad Dawson.

If Bute can show he has fully recovered from his defeat to Froch he should be able to pull off the victory, but if Pascal can jump out to an early lead it may be too much for Bute to overcome.

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