Jean Pascal could get a second shot at Sergey Kovalev, but first, he’s going to have to be willing to face the undefeated Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KO’s) and come out victorious.
Beterbiev was handed an opportunity to face Kovalev on Thanksgiving weekend in Russia by Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter at Main Events, but Beterbiev rejected the offer.
It was unlikely to come to fruition from the beginning, as Beterbiev, an Al Haymon fighter, performs on Premier Boxing Champions, and Duva is notorious for her in-depth criticism of the series.
Also, Beterbiev would be paid significantly more if he were to fight in an IBF title eliminator match and become Kovalev’s mandatory challenger, which is what he’s doing.
Pascal is ranked No. 8 by the IBF and was only offered the match after several contenders ranked above him either failed to answer the offer or declined the offer entirely. Bernard Hopkins, Erik Skoglund, Isaac Chilemba, Andrzej Fonfara, and Seanie Monaghan were all offered the matchup with Beterbiev, and all either declined or ignored the offer.
Pascal, who is a former WBC light-heavyweight champion, has until Friday, August 21 to make a decision.
“In the eliminator for the IBF light-heavyweight title, the New Yorker Sean Monaghan declined the invitation to face Artur Beterbiev. The next ranked contender by the IBF and available is Jean Pascal. The deadline for a response is 21 August,” said GYM, Beterbiev’s promoter.
Pascal was stopped in the eighth-round of an exciting fight against Kovalev in March in which he complained after the fight that referee Luis Pabon had stopped the fight too soon.
Although I felt the fight was stopped too soon, Kovalev was only getting more dominant as the fight went on, and the referee felt to be safer than sorry. It’s the toughest position in the sport that doesn’t involve fighting.