Pascal can be Canada's pride
Our Simon Crawford believes Jean Pascal will emerge victorious in his 'local derby' against Lucian Bute at the weekend.
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Canada is hardly a country renowned for boxing - but on Saturday night in Montreal the eyes of the world will be on Jean Pascal's light-heavyweight clash with Lucian Bute.
It's a must-win fight for both of the Quebec City sporting heroes as the loser will surely struggle to get back on the world stage with both now in their 30s and time being against them.
Pascal (28-2-1 17KOs) at 33 is two years older than his Romanian-born opponent (31-1 24KOs) but I believe the fact the fight is at light-heavyweight suits Pascal more.
He is more accustomed to it, is proven at the weight and for southpaw Bute it will be only the second time he will have stepped up to 175lbs after campaigning for most of his career at super-middleweight.
Both have a good knockout ratio, both are durable and both are well-schooled so what is going to make the difference?
Well, the two fighters go into Saturday's contest smarting from potentially career-defining defeats and I think the one who can demonstrate he has been able to put it behind him will come out on top.
Pascal's shock to the system came at the hands of the phenomenon known as Bernard Hopkins who took him to school in-front of his home fans in May 2011 - and even managed the time to do press-ups in between rounds.
It was certainly a reality check for Pascal who appeared to have learned little from their first meeting which ended as a controversial draw.
He has since fought twice - a points win over Aleksy Kuziemski and a five-round stoppage of 39-year-old George Blades - but Saturday will undoubtedly be a much sterner test of his credentials.
Bute's setback came at the hands of Nottingham's Carl Froch - who also has a win over Pascal on his CV - who blitzed him five dramatic rounds.
Bute had arrived in Britain unbeaten, full of confidence and even went into the fight as favourite.
But his night unravelled spectacularly as Froch produced arguably the performance of his career and many felt Bute would not return.
Injuries have hindered him with surgery needed on his left hand, but he did come back and unconvincingly beat Denis Grachev on points back in November 2012.
Pascal's defeat to Hopkins will have left plenty of mental scars, but Bute's loss to Froch was both brutal and shattering and this will be the first time in his career that he will go into a fight as the underdog.
It's all about who wants it more on the night and I think that Pascal will hold the edge and has slightly more momentum, especially at light-heavyweight.
The layers agree and Pascal is a best-priced 8/11 with totesport and Betfred, while Bute can be backed at 7/5 with spreadex.
Not much value there so I'm going to the round group betting as I think Pascal can force a late stoppage after an explosive contest.
With this in mind I'm going to take the 9/1 being offered by Paddy Power and Ladbrokes for a Pascal victory in rounds 10-12.