Pascal-Bute superfight delayed after Bute hurts hand
By BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency
|Lucian Bute will have bone fragments removed from his injured left hand and will not fight on May 25. (Didier Debusschere/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Former super-middleweight champ Lucian Bute injured his left hand in training, putting off his anticipated superfight with fellow Montrealer Jean Pascal.
Bute's promoter, Interbox, confirmed Tuesday that the 32-year-old will have bone fragments removed from the hand, likely this week.
The injury derails one of the most highly-anticipated Canadian fights in history, with 15,000 tickets already sold for the May 25 bout at the Bell Centre.
HBO was to broadcast the card that was expected to earn Pascal and Bute $2 million each.
"I am very disappointed about this injury," Bute (31-1, 24 K.O.) said in a statement Tuesday. "I had never been in such good shape. Despite the pain, my preparation was going well until the end of last week."
Pascal (27-2-1 with 16 K.O.) told QMI Agency that he wants the card to go ahead on May 25 -- with a different opponent.
"I don't have a name in my head but ... it could be Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins ... anyone because I am in excellent shape and I know that when I am in excellent shape, I am very difficult to beat."
Dawson is an unlikely replacement given that he's scheduled to fight another Montreal-area native, Adonis "Superman" Stevenson, on June 8 for the WBC and The Ring light-heavyweight titles.
The hand injury is the latest setback for Bute, who has seen his career tail off since suffering his first career defeat in a devastating TKO loss to Brit Carl Froch last year. Bute, a former IBF titleholder, first injured his hand last year during the loss to Froch.
Fans had been clamouring for years for Bute to fight Pascal, a former light-heavyweight world champion.
Pascal, 30, approached the pinnacle of his sport in 2011 after stopping Dawson in Montreal. He then served as a foil for ageless wonder Hopkins, recording a draw against the Philadelphia counterpuncher in Quebec City before losing to the American in Montreal.
Bute-Pascal has been dubbed "the First Historic Chapter," suggesting it could be the part of a three-fight series.
But the winner would also be in contention for bigger paydays against the likes of Froch and perhaps Andre Ward, an American who's the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.