Only one week away from the first defense of his WBC World Light Heavyweight, Jean Pascal (23-1-0, 15 KO) has declared himself ready for mandatory challenger Silvio Branco (59-9-2 36KO) who arrives this Saturday. Pascal is extremely satisfied with his preparation for the Bell Centre matchup. “I’ve done everything that needed to be done to keep the Green belt around my waist next Friday night. I cut no corners, and training camp was excellent. I will be very surprised if my opponent stays standing for the full 12 rounds” stated the fighter who will be looking to make a statement and is more confident than ever. His trainer, Marc Ramsay, did not disagree! “Jean has gained an enormous amount confidence and maturity since winning the world title. In my opinion, his preparation is actually superior to that of the one where he beat Diaconu last June.”
Branco will be coming prepared, having set up training camp for the last 2 months with countryman and WBC cruiserweight champion Giacobbe Fragomeni (26-1-1, 10KO). Branco was shocked at the victory of Pascal over Diaconu but remains unimpressed with the Laval born Champion. “I fought the majority of my most important fight in hostile territory and nobody has or will ever intimidate me. Pascal has some strengths but is far from my experience level. I am convinced I will return back to Italy with the shiny green belt”.
Adrian Diaconu (26-1-0, 15KO) will be an interested observer at ringside and will no doubt be cheering for the man he lost to as a date of December 11th is already in place for a rematch between the two. Diaconu is back in Montreal after a much needed vacation with his family back in Romania and has already begun training for a rematch with Pascal that will also be at the Bell Centre. “I admit that Pascal surprised me last June but the fight was much closer than he thinks. The difference in the fight was one or two rounds out of the full 12. Next time I will not over estimate him. I wish him a win vs. Branco so that we can settle the score”.
Undercard bouts for the “Ultimo Tango in Montreal” Gala are all set, and all of them promise action! Montrealer Adonis « Superman » Stevenson (12-0-0, 9KO) will lace up the gloves in the main supporting bout of the evening against Commonwealth and WBC Caribbean Champion Jermain « Choo Choo » Mackey (18-3-0, 14KO) in a Super Middleweight fight for the WBC International title. Stevenson returns from a 3-week training camp in Germany where he served as WBA 168 lb champion Mikkel Kessler’s (42-1-0, 32 KO) sparring partner. Stevenson has not boxed in over a year due to injuries but is now extremely motivated to make a run up the super middleweight ladder. “Those rounds of sparring with Kessler made me realize I can compete against any 168 pounder!” stated Stevenson. Mackey will be boxing in Quebec for the second time in his career, looking to avenge a 12 round decision loss to Jean Pascal in 2006 in his last visit.
Also on the undercard will be #6 ranked IBF Sebastien « Double Trouble » Demers (28-2-0, 10KO) will also box on the card, but will be facing a major challenge in front of talented American fighter Henry « Sugar Poo » Buchanan (17-2-0, 12KO). Demers put in some excellent rounds as Pascal’s sparring partner and declares himself in tip-top shape for this challenge. “I know Buchanan is a good fighter but the rounds I put in with Pascal will be the determining factor.” This will be yet another super middleweight bout for Demers, which might be a sign of more interesting things to come.
Quebec native David Whittom (10-9-1, 6KO) and adopted Montrealer Carl « Kojak » Handy (23-7-2, 12KO) will again hook up in a repeat of thier 2006 bout where Handy won by majority decision.
Kevin Bizier (5-0-0, 3KO) and Pier-Olivier Côté (7-0-0, 5KO), will round off the card in separate bouts and will both try to keep their undefeated records alive. Bizier will face Jose Leonardo Corona (8-9-0, 6KO) from Mexico and Cote will face his toughest challenger yet, Leonardo Rojas (8-8-3, 2KO) of Montréal, who fought bravely in decision losses to Antonin Decarie and Benoit Gaudet.