The retirement of former light heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal did not last long.
Before Pascal faced Ahmed Elbiali on Dec. 8 in Hialeah, Florida, he said that he would retire, win or lose. So when he knocked out Elbiali in the sixth round and walked away from the sport it was a storybook ending.
But now Pascal is back and will face former UFC fighter and former North American Hockey League enforcer Steve Bosse in a 10-round cruiserweight fight on June 29, promoter Yvon Michel announced on Thursday.
“I don’t want to have no regrets and that is why I came back,” Pascal said. “I take this fight very seriously. I am already in the gym and I will have a good training camp. I found back the love for my sport.”
The card will take place at Place Bell in the Montreal suburb of Laval, Quebec, Pascal’s hometown, and will include middleweight Albert Onolunose (23-1-1, 7 KOs), 37, of Calgary, Alberta, against Francis Lafreniere (16-6-2, 9 KOs), 30, of Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec, in a 10-round rematch of Onolunose’s majority decision win on March 15 in Montreal in the co-feature.
The 35-year-old Pascal (32-5-1, 19 KOs) is 3-3 in his past six fights, including two knockout losses in light heavyweight world title bouts against Sergey Kovalev and a majority decision loss to undefeated contender Eleider “Storm” Alvarez. Now Pascal is moving up in weight to the 200-pound division with an eye perhaps on eventually going to heavyweight.
“I always wanted to fight a heavyweight. Steve is the perfect opponent to test myself (because) he is a big guy who was 224 pounds in his last fight,” Pascal said.
“But, still, I will put his boxing career where it belongs — on ice.”
Bosse was 12-2, with nine knockouts, in mixed martial arts, but he is a novice boxer. He made his pro debut on Feb. 15 with a second-round knockout victory against Julio Cuellar Cabrera in Montreal and is taking a big step up against Pascal in his second boxing match.
“All my life I was an underdog. They said I could not play hockey. I played and was the most popular guy in the league,” said Bosse, who last fought in the UFC in June 2016. “They said I shouldn’t do MMA. I reached the UFC and did pretty good. Now some say I should not box? I will surprise the doubters June 29.
“Remember, I am the puncher here. I can end the fight with one punch. He can’t. I will send him back to retirement.”
Michel said Pascal is using the fight to gauge himself at the heavier weight and might use it to eventually go to heavyweight.
“Pascal is saying it is his ambition to test the heavyweight division as it is his longtime dream to fight with the big men,” Michel said. “(In this fight) you have a former world champion moving up a weight class against a bigger guy, who is also a crowd pleaser. Make sure you don’t blink.”