Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute are meeting in the ring on January 18th to contest the NABF light heavyweight strap, but more importantly a world title shot should be just around the corner for the winner.
Although most fans seem confident that Pascal will win the odds-makers are struggling to pick a favourite, suggesting that most of the 'experts' can't figure out which way this fight will go.
Bute has power but realistically it is very unlikely he'll ko a fighter like Pascal, who has skill and has withstood the power of Froch and Hopkins, amongst others. Bute on the other hand looked shell-shocked in a devastating fifth round ko loss against an improved Froch but Pascal only has three ko wins from his last 10 bouts.
Pascal's win record reveals that four of his last 10 victories were by ko and, for a few of those fights at least, the former champion had an injury - perhaps his ko% doesn't fairly represent his power.
Pascal has a habit of stepping off the gas after the first few rounds and I think if it goes past the sixth bell it will probably go all the way to points - then it is a toss up between Pascal's explosive attacks and Bute's accurate, aggressive counter-punching.
I will only be betting small on this fight because it is so hard to call. I am drawn to the longer odds available on an early Pascal win: three of the Haitian-Canadian's last four ko wins came before round six. However, if it goes to points I have a feeling that the Romanian-born Canadian will retain his belt.