Tavoris Cloud-Jean Pascal postponed
Tavoris Cloud's light heavyweight title defense against former champion Jean Pascal has been postponed because Pascal suffered a right hand injury in training, Al Bonanni, Cloud's trainer, told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
The postponement of the fight, a Showtime-televised main event scheduled for Aug. 11 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, is slated to be formally announced at a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday.
Bonanni said Don King, Cloud's promoter, called him Tuesday morning to tell him the fight was being postponed to a date to be determined.
It's disappointing, however, I don't believe he has a hand injury. We believe he was unprepared for the fight on Aug. 11 so he had to use politics and try to maneuver himself out of an ass whipping. I'll wait for him.” -- Tavoris Cloud on Jean Pascal's injury
"Don called and told us the fight has been postponed but we're continuing to train," Bonanni said from King's Orwell, Ohio, training camp.
Cloud, who is slated to make his fifth title defense against Pascal, has been training for 10 weeks already. He and Bonanni spent the first five weeks conditioning in their home state of Florida before moving to the Ohio training camp for the past five weeks.
Cloud was not happy about the postponement and skeptical of the injury.
"It's disappointing, however, I don't believe he has a hand injury," Cloud said. "We believe he was unprepared for the fight on Aug. 11 so he had to use politics and try to maneuver himself out of an ass whipping. I'll wait for him. It gives me more confidence because I know I got the edge on him and I'm not gonna give up the edge. I'm gonna keep the pressure on him."
Bonanni also was skeptical of Pascal's injury.
"I just can't believe he is doing this," Bonanni said. "I think he has known for some time that he was not fit to fight for whatever reason. He hasn't fought for (more than a year). We would have just destroyed him. We would have gone through him like (expletive) through a goose. Whether it's his hand, or his weight, or he has no (expletive), is of no consequence to us. It's just typical in the life of Tavoris Cloud. We're always ready and then something comes up.
"We want to reschedule the fight. If he needs 30 days or whatever, we'll give him the time."
According to another source with knowledge of the injury, it is "relatively minor, but Pascal is not going to be available for several weeks." The source also said that Yvon Michel, Pascal's promoter, is talking about rescheduling the fight for Oct. 13, a date the Bell Centre is available on. However, Showtime does not have that date available for boxing.
Showtime declined to discuss the postponement but Michel responded with an email on Tuesday night.
"(Pascal) has tried hard to fight through it with a cortisone shot and therapy but (Tuesday) morning our doctor, Dr. Francis Fontaine, said he was not giving him medical clearance for the fight," Michel wrote.
Michel said the doctor diagnosed Pascal with a bone bruise and prescribed rest.
"Jean was in good physical condition, his weight was good, his training camp was excellent and he was on target for his preparation," Michel said. "He has tried extremely hard to convince us to let him fight believing he could beat Cloud with one hand like he did when he beat Adrian Diaconu with a dislocated shoulder in December 2009 (but) we were not going to let him jeopardize his career taking a fight injured."
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Concern that the fight would be called off rippled through the boxing world on Tuesday afternoon when a media conference call that the fighters were scheduled to participate in to talk about the fight was abruptly called off with no reason was given.
However, Cloud's camp said everything on their end was fine.
"Tavoris is in great shape and training hard and anxious to fight," Alan Hopper, King's spokesman said. "He's at Don's camp in Orwell, Ohio, working very hard and ready for this fight. Showtime only called us and told us that the conference call was canceled. But it wasn't canceled because of any issues with the Cloud side of things."
Then there was this cryptic tweet from Pascal: "It's a sad morning."
Not long after Pascal tweeted again, "It's a sad morning because my Benz had a flat."
But by then, many believed it was just a matter of time until the bout was postponed.
"We would have 13-14 weeks in camp by the time of the fight," Bonanni said. "Our weight is 181 pounds, so we're in great shape and ready and then we heard Pascal advised that he had injured his hand in training, so he needs to let it mend."
Bonanni said Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), 30, of Tallahassee, Fla., will remain in training camp but will slow things down. He will also get a visit from his wife and daughter.
"We're going to stick it out in camp and, hopefully, Showtime will be true to their word and deliver this fight," Bonanni said.
Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs), 29, has not fought since May 2011 when he lost a decision in Montreal to Bernard Hopkins -- in a rematch of a previous draw -- allowing Hopkins to become, at age 46, the oldest fighter in history to win a world championship.
Cloud is coming off a controversial split decision win against former titlist Gabriel Campillo in February. Cloud's disappointing performance against Campillo is why he has elected to remain in camp during the postponement of the fight with Pascal.
In December, Cloud was supposed to face former titleholder Zsolt Erdei, but Erdei withdrew, also because of a hand injury. While waiting for a new date from Showtime and possibly a new opponent, Cloud broke camp. A few weeks later, when Campillo was signed to replace Erdei, Cloud returned to training but believes he took it too easy during his time away.
"I learned my lesson," Cloud said. "I'm keeping the edge this time. I learned from what I've been through. I went home for a little while and came back at the beginning of the year, plus I had to change from a short righty (Erdei) to a tall lefty (Campillo). We know how to train now when these fights get postponed. I'm still training, I'll still go running. I'll probably go hunting."
It is unclear if the Aug. 11 co-featured fight, Quebec super middleweight Adonis Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs) against Don George (22-2-1, 19 KOs) of Chicago in an eliminator for the right to become titleholder Carl Froch's next mandatory challenger, will be postponed along with the main event or if it will go forward on Aug. 11, or possibly another date.