By Wayne Bartlett:
The old saying is, ‘you are only as good as your last fight’.
If that’s the case then what can be said for Tavoris ‘Thunder’ Cloud and Jean Pascal ahead of their recently signed fight to take place on August 11 in Canada.
Pascal hasn’t boxed since his rematch loss to veteran Bernard Hopkins in May of last year. Cloud is coming off what many believe should have been a loss, when claiming a split decision win over unheralded Spaniard Gabriel Campillo in February.
Put simply, both men have something to prove.
The Campillo robbery debate raged on after the fight, as yet another controversial judge’s decision over blows landed inside the ring, resulted in another blow for boxing outside the ring.
The crowd in attendance at Corpus Christi, Texas, booed the decision as soon as the words ‘and still’ left the mouth of Jimmy Lennon Jr. Campillo knelt in a neutral corner desolately and Cloud’s mother, Emma Smith, fainted.
Mrs. Smith’s reaction was as good a gauge for the decision as anything. I nearly fainted when her son was announced as the winner, too.
Nevertheless, the win meant Cloud retained possession of the IBF light heavyweight title that goes on the line when the Floridian travels to Canada in a few months time.
The opponent awaiting him is himself no stranger to final bell controversy, after a chorus of discontent met the majority draw decision in his first fight with Bernard Hopkins in 2010.
The resulting rematch seeing Hopkins claim a unanimous decision. It will be interesting to see how 29-year-old Pascal, 26-2-1(16), reacts in his first performance after the circus a fight with Bernard brings.
30-year-old Cloud, unbeaten with a 24-0(19) record; will look to this as a precursor to a clash with newly crowned WBC champ Chad Dawson. Dawson, having just beat Hopkins for the strap, was in fact dethroned of that very title in 2010 when suffering his first professional loss to, none other than, Jean Pascal.
It’s a bit of a merry go-round at light-heavyweight. But be it for revenge against Pascal or necessity against Cloud, a showdown with Dawson is surely in the offing for the winner.
Looking ahead to August 11, the factors surrounding this fight make for a fascinating clash.
You have Pascal’s stamina that’s a constant worry. The fact Cloud can be out-boxed so convincingly as Gabriel Campillo demonstrated. Pascal is returning after a long lay-off. Cloud is boxing on Pascal’s home turf.
All of the above represent arguments for both fighters’ chances, but there can be no argument as to the quality of the matchmaking for what is surely 50-50 fight.
If pushed, I see the Canadian former Commonwealth Games gold medalist – whose fight with Carl Froch in 2008 was one the most exciting I’ve witnessed in a British ring – taking it on the cards in his backyard.
But if the old adage of ‘only being as good as your last fight’ is true when predicting a winner between Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal, then your guess is as good as mine.