One week ago, the WBC ordered what looked on paper to be an interesting four-man light heavyweight tournament that would have matched former champ Jean Pascal with Zsolt Erdei, and prospect Ismayl Sillakh with Chris Henry. But while the idea seemed to appeal to boxing fans, it does not appeal to Jean Pascal, reports Rick Reeno:
"That's a nice tournament, and I thank the WBC for putting together a nice thing, but I think that I'm going to choose another option... To fight twice to become the mandatory to my ex-title, that makes no sense to me."
Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO) is coming off of a decision loss to Bernard Hopkins on May 21, in a fight that made Hopkins the oldest champion or titlist in boxing history at age 46. He does hope he can still fight Erdei (33-0, 18 KO), the Hungarian fighter now promoted by Lou DiBella. Epix has been reported to have interest in airing that fight, which if it happens will come on December 17, when Pascal is due to return to the ring.
Really, it's hard to blame Pascal for not doing the tournament. He does have other good options, and is too good of a draw in Quebec, and has TV network interest both in Canada and the United States. He's not struggling to get himself out there like Chris Henry or Erdei, or hoping for a big network debut like Sillakh. If he fights Erdei anyway, as he was expected to before the WBC announced their tournament plans, then I don't see any major loss. Sillakh vs Henry still sounds like a good fight, too. It's committing to two fights that causes hesitation, and another sign that the Super Six -- which I'm wagering is going to be the only one of its kind -- was such a miracle even getting made in the first place.