By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
It is one of the most anticipated fights on Canadian soil. Ever. Never before have two Canadians squared off on their own home turf and fought for a world championship as WBC light-heavyweight champion Adrian Diaconu is doing when he meets former world title challenger and cross-town rival Jean Pascal (11pm Vs., Canada PPV). This has the making of a good one, power versus speed, rival promoters Interbox and GYM clashing for the first time and the flash and charisma of Pascal against the very serious and stoic Adrian Diaconu. Fightnews has broken it down and it seems to add up to a great fight.
Making weight should obviously be easy for Pascal after fighting his whole career at super-middleweight. Pascal won’t have any problems from bouncing back and rehydrating and this should almost feel like a free pass.
Didn’t make the light-heavyweight for two years and saw his weight get progressively higher and higher, inching into cruiserweight territory. It was his Canadian title fight in 2005 that put a goal and a target out there for Diaconu and he hasn’t looked back. Those early fights at 175 were a struggle, but given time and more discipline he has made this his weight category.
Analysis: Being champion, this is Diaconu’s weight category with Pascal moving up. He will be the bigger man on fight night. Pascal has said it was becoming a struggle to make super-middle, but was making it regularly and may not strong for this fight as future ones should he decide to stay at 175. Advantage: Diaconu
Psacal was often at height disadvantage at 168 pounds, giving away inches to fighters like Froch, Ikeke and Pittman. But by moving up in weight, Pascal becomes the taller man.
Usually used to fighting giants, Diaconu is always the shorter man. But with Pascal, he gets somebody relatively the same size which should be a nice change from the likes of 6’3” Rico Hoye where he almost was in need of step-ladder to connect.
Analysis: Don’t look for jabbing contest in this one. But if Pascal plans to use the ring to his advantage and move, being the taller leaner man will be to his advantage. Advantage: Pascal
Diaconu 15 KOs (58%)
A hammer in both fists. Diaconu hits and hits hard. His handlers are fond of saying, “If you have a chin, Adrian will check it for you.” Power is all front end loaded though. 12 of his 15 knockouts have come in the first three rounds. For Adrian to be effective, he can’t load up and will need to rely on his speed. “Speed is power,” is what his corner preaches.
Pascal 15 KOs (65%)
Same number of KO’s with a higher percentage. Pascal usually overwhelms opponents with volume but has had some highlight reel knockouts along the way including his last fight where he put Pablo Nievas to sleep in a hurry.
Analysis: Obvious nod goes to Diaconu but if both fighters are standing after four rounds, look for things to even out a bit. Advantage: Diaconu
Diaconu contends that people under-estimate his speed. His moniker ‘The Shark’ is appropriate as he’ll explode with vicious intentions on his opponents.
Very fast hands. Uses speed to dictate the pace of fights. Will overwhelm opponents with flurries and back off to recuperate.
Analysis: To negate the speed advantage of Pascal, Diaconu will have to force the fight in the moments when Jean doesn’t want to fight. Advantage: Pascal
Only second headline appearance in Montreal, the first being in front of a small crowd. Has the style that if he’s on, he can win them over quickly.
Headlined many shows and has the flashy personality to attract people. But when he was all sizzle and no steak at Jarry Park versus Darnell Boone, was booed for his efforts.
Analysis: Should be a fever pitch inside a packed Bell Centre. Polls are 50-50 so look for whoever is winning to have the crowd’s support. Advantage: Pascal
Has fought for a world title, faced adversity and won. Diaconu vowed that he never wanted to be running on fumes like he was in Romania and committed to be in better shape. Pulled through in Romania, but pretty much has had things go his way as a pro.
Has been stunned, injured and always come back. Pascal threw out his shoulder and instead of fighting conservatively against Esteban Camou went for the knockout and got it. Was stunned against Brian Norman and Omar Pittman but kept going and won the fight.
Analysis: Pascal is five years younger but has faced more adversity inside the ring. He’s been forced to reach deep and responded when asked and fought four more rounds in three less fights. The experience should serve him well should this fight reach the later rounds. Advantage: Pascal
Won two medals at World Championships (1997 & 1999) and 2 fights in 2000 Olympics. An impressive 218-27, many pegged him as a better prospect than Lucian Bute.
Medaled at Commonwealth and Pan-Am Games. Lost in first fight at 2004 Olympic Games. Canadian champion 7 times. Record of 103-18.
Analysis: Diaconu has the amateur pedigree that made him a sought after prospect from promoters around the world. Pascal first move after Olympics was Vegas before coming back to Montreal and signing with GYM. Advantage: Diaconu
Suffered a first round knockout in the Olympics but as a pro never seen his chin tested. Closest we’ve seen was a free shot sucker punch as he lay on the ropes after an ordered break which buckled his knees a tad but that he recovered well from and continued to dominate.
Just when questions were being asked after Brian Norman and Omar Pittman, Pascal showed a worthy beard against Carl Froch, one of the hardest punchers at 168.
Analysis: The best chin is the one that hasn’t been tested. So far Pascal has passed the test, but that only means that he has been hit, and Diaconu hits harder than Pittman or Norman. Advantage: Diaconu
Quality of Opposition
Chris Henry. Andre Thysse fought 23 championship rounds and Diacounu was the first and only man to put him on the canvas. Rico Hoye was also a world title challenger.
Carl Froch. Kingsley Ikeke was a former world title challenger.
Analysis: No distinguishing point on either side. Both fought for vacant titles. Diaconu got there through an elimination fight and won the title though, Pascal did neither. Advantage: Diaconu
Was winning handily and looked as if he was going to put Chris Henry away and nearly blew it. Put Andre Thysse down in the first and lost last two rounds. Things have not gone well late when things didn’t end early.
Was competitive against Froch but saw things grind down in the second half of the fight. Often serves up volleys and rest in between, not fighting the full three minutes.
Analysis: The million dollar question and one the fight will be based on if it goes past four. Diaconu told trainer Pierre Bouchard ‘never again’ after being gassed at the end of the Chris Henry fight. Pascal declares himself to be the fittest in his career. We believe Diaconu but volume of punches could serve Pascal well in long fight. Advantage: too close to call, slight edge Pascal.