By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada
While he has never found a microphone he doesn’t like, WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal has done an about face in the way he prepares for a fight, settling for seclusion instead of the bright lights. Pascal who defends his world WBC belt this Friday against mandatory challenger Silvio Branco once again fled all the conveniences of home and attended a training camp where boxing and only boxing were served up 24-7. “It was really tough because it was really boring over there,” said Pascal who spent time in upstate New York in preparation for his first title defense. “But I was able to stay focused, train really hard, eat, watch TV and sleep, that’s all, that’s all.”
But as the saying goes, the proof is in the punching as Pascal has been able to transcend from world title ‘challenger’ against Carl Froch to world title ‘champion’ with his win against Adrian Diaconu in an all-Montreal match-up.
The Froch fight where Pascal went away and trained in Arizona brought the fighter his first defeat in an exciting and competitive fight, and brought him to the realization of how close he was to realizing his dream of becoming world champion. “It wasn’t a wake-up call,” the former Olympian told Fightnews, “It was more the fact that I was almost there. I just had to stay focused, work a bit harder, a bit more discipline and I knew I was going to be there. That’s what I did against Diaconu, that’s why I became world champion. The fight with Carl Froch was the first time I really faced any adversity, and that brought me a lot of experience.”
“He realized that the little things were now big things at this level, and taking care of those little things might be the difference in winning a world title,” said trainer Marc Ramsay who called the training camp a huge success and injury free. “The Carl Froch fight helped him realize he wasn’t that far. He’s turning 27 and he’s more mature, winning the world title has meant everything for him. People in the beginning of his career always believed that he had all the talent and tools in the world, but that he had to keep them under control. Now he manages them very well.”
Pascal hopes to employ all those tools Friday when he faces off against Branco, a former WBA world title holder. Branco (59-9-2 36KO) at 43 holds both a height and reach advantage and is a lot more experienced than Pascal, 16 years his junior who believes he can easily make up the difference and is predicting an early knockout of his opponent. “I’m younger, I’m faster, I’m smarter, I’ve got all the tools on my side to kick his ass.”