Ismayl Sillakh is hoping to land a fight with Jean Pascal. (Photo via Ismayl Sillakh Official Facebook)
A fight between former light heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal and blue chip prospect Ismayl Sillakh is being discussed, reports ESPN.com's Dan Rafael. Square Ring's John Wirt, who represents Sillakh, is trying to put the fight together with Pascal's promoter Yvon Michel. It would be a WBC eliminator, entitling the victor to meet the winner of the April 28 rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson.
"We're very hopeful that this fight will take place between Sillakh and Pascal, and Yvon and I are talking about potentially doing it in May, but nothing is done yet. ... I think it's a great fight; I think a lot of people think it's a fantastic fight and will showcase both fighters' skills. Obviously, I think Sillakh has the skills to win. People have been avoiding him for a long time now and we're very appreciative that the WBC ordered this fight."
Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO) has turned into a boxing socialite since his May 2011 loss to Hopkins on HBO, frequently popping up at big fights (pretty much all of them, in fact, plus some smaller events) but not stepping back into the ring at all. There haven't even been any particular serious negotiations to get him back in there.
Sillakh (17-0, 14 KO) is a 26-year-old prospect from Ukraine, now fighting out of California, who has impressed just about everyone who's ever seen him. His last notable fight came about a year ago, when he beat Yordanis Despaigne on Friday Night Fights in strong fashion. Since then he's fought twice more, but against marginal foes.
It's a good fight, and the WBC has been trying to get Sillakh involved in the title chase for a while now. Previously, the sanctioning body proposed a four-man tournament to become No. 1 contender, which would have seen Pascal pitted against Zsolt Erdei, and Sillakh facing Chris Henry.
Pascal balked at the idea, saying it made no sense to him to have to fight twice to become the No. 1 contender to his old title belt, and realistically it's just because it made no sense for he or his promoter to commit to two fights when they could bide their time and take an easier path.
Showtime is reportedly interested in pascal vs Sillakh, as they should be, but may not have the money to bring the fight to the network.