Jean Pascal plans to make Michael Eifert pay for what he views as a two decade-long debt between their respective nations.
The two are set to meet this Thursday in a scheduled twelve-round IBF light heavyweight title eliminator from Place Bell in Laval, Canada. The bout comes nearly 20 years to the day of Montreal native Eric Lucas’ controversial split decision defeat to Markus Beyer in April 2003 to end his WBC super middleweight title reign in Leipzig, Germany.
“I was only 20 years old at the time and watched the fight which was broadcast on TVA,” Pascal recalled during a press conference held Monday afternoon in Laval. “I still remember my sadness as if it were yesterday. I couldn’t believe the injustice that I witnessed.
“There will be no decision here. I promise you will see the soles of his shoes. I am going to knock him out.”
Lucas had turned around his career by that point. He’d lost just once in his previous nineteen encounters after an eleventh-round stoppage defeat to Roy Jones Jr. in their June 1996 HBO-aired main event—notable only for Jones having played a minor league basketball game earlier that afternoon.
A July 2001 seventh-round knockout of Glenn Catley saw Lucas win the WBC super middleweight title, also avenging a prior defeat to his countryman. Three successful defenses followed before traveling to Germany, where he appeared to outbox Beyer over twelve rounds. Two of the three judges—California’s Chuck Hassett and Italy’s Franco Ciminale—ruled in favor of Beyer in a widely disputed verdict.
Lucas’ career never recovered. He suffered a knockout loss to Danny Green in his next fight, along with a tenth-round stoppage to then-unbeaten WBA super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler in January 2006, the final title fight of his career.
Pascal (36-6-1, 20KOs) was coming up on his first full year as a pro at the time of Lucas’ loss to Kessler. He would go on to become one of Canada’s most celebrated boxers, emerging as a massive draw prior to and during his WBC light heavyweight championship reign more than a decade ago.
Now 40, the Laval-based Haitian-Canadian is in the twilight of his career but still with title aspirations. The winner of Thursday’s bout will become the IBF mandatory challenger to lineal and unified WBC/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19KOs).
For now, he will gladly settle for closing out what he feels is unfinished business. Magdeburg’s Eifert (11-1, 4KOs) was just five years old at the time and can’t possibly relate, though it remains a painful memory for Pascal who urges his local fans to bear witness to “the tribute I plan to pay to our champion, Eric Lucas.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox