Late last week, former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal told La Presse that he’ll return to the ring on May 21st against onetime IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong. I held off on sharing it, as I assumed Meng was still slated to face Sergey Kovalev in a Triller Fight Club main event, but Dan Rafael now reports that Kovalev-Meng is off and Pascal-Meng will proceed on May 20th.
For the record, the 20th is a Friday, so I’m leaning towards Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KO) having the right of it.
The 39-year-old hasn’t fought since scraping past Badou Jack in 2019, as a planned rematch collapsed when Pascal tested positive for all of the drugs. He continues to maintain his innocence, including in the La Presse piece above; it goes into detail about his levels and subsequent hair testing, though the writer remains skeptical.
Meng (17-0, 10 KO), by contrast, has just been damn unlucky. His 2020 title shot against the freshly unified Artur Beterbiev was one of the first casualties of the COVID pandemic, and issues with rescheduling led to Adam Deines taking his place. He ended a two-year layoff last October with a decision over Israel Duffus.
It’s some solid matchmaking in terms of competitiveness, at least. We’ll let you know if it gets a U.S. broadcast.