Former world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal works on the speedbag during his workout, Monday, December 4, 2017 in Montreal.Pascal will fight Ahmed Elbiali in Miami in what may be the last bout of his career.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Former WBC champ Pascal to face prospect Elbiali, then retire from ring

MONTREAL — Jean Pascal wants to leave the ring as a winner.

The Laval, Que. resident and former World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion says it will be his final fight when he takes on little-known Ahmed Elbiali (16-0) on Friday night in the main event at the Hiahleah Park casino near Miami.

Pascal (31-5-1) is only 35 and, in an age when many top boxers carry on into their 40s, he probably could continue for a few more years. But he wants to go out with his mental and physical faculties intact.

“It’s an unforgiving sport,” Pascal said this week. “You shouldn’t end on an empty gas tank.

“That’s when there could be physical and mental damage. I’d rather stop when the tank is full.”

How full the tank will be was put in doubt on Wednesday when his early morning flight was delayed, then cancelled due to an equipment problem, forcing he and his entourage to find another plane. He arrived in Miami that night.

Pascal didn’t chose the opponent or setting for his final bout, which were assigned by manager Al Haymon. He no doubt would have preferred to have his finale in Montreal or Quebec City where most of his high profile fights were held, including two meetings with ring legend Bernard Hopkins and, more recently, a pair of crushing losses to Russian brawler Sergey Kovalev.

Instead he will face 27-year-old Elbiali, an Egypt native who grew up in Miami and is considered a rising prospect.

Elbiali’s list of opponents is modest, but he has knocked out 13 of them. Taking down a former champion like Pascal would add a big name to his resume.

“It feels like a title fight,” Elbiali told fighthype.com. “I’m a kid, bruh.

“I know it’s not a title fight, but it’s a big fight for me. Jean Pascal is a guy that I used to watch. I never would have thought that I would fight this guy.”

Pascal, an attacking entertainer in the ring and flashy dresser and enthusiastic trash-talker out of it, will go out as one of Canada’s top boxers of the modern era, perhaps a notch below heavyweight great Lennox Lewis but in there with Arturo Gatti, Otis Grant, Adonis Stevenson and other champions.

The Haiti native, whose family moved to Montreal when he was four, won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and represented Canada at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

His first big international bout as a professional was an honourable defeat as he lost by decision to British super-middleweight champion Carl Froch in England in 2008.

Moving up to light heavyweight, he defeated Montreal-based Adrian Diaconu for the WBC title in June, 2009 and defended it four times, including a win over previous-unbeaten Chad Dawson, before being outwitted in his second bout with savvy veteran Hopkins in May, 2011.

Pascal took bad beatings in a pair of title attempts against “Krusher” Kovalev in 2015 and 2016. He has lost three of his last five fights, including a majority decision setback to Montreal-based Colombian Eleider Alvarez in June.

Getting back in the title picture looks unlikely, so it seems a good time to retire.

“The important thing is to have no regrets,” said Pascal’s trainer Stephan Larouche. “Jean is really motivated for this fight.

“If everything worked on merit, this fight would be in Montreal, but boxing rarely works on merit. Jean will fight as well as he can. He’ll do his best. It’s rare that an athlete can go out as a winner. If that’s how it turns out, it’s even better. I admire that. I’m one who likes it when boxers stop at the right time.”

Pascal said one of the things he is most proud of is inspiring youngsters to take up the sport, especially in the Haitian community. But what he will do after boxing is up in the air.

“All good things come to an end,” he said. “My boxing career is ending but I’m starting a new stage on my life.”

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month