When a fighter attempts a comeback, the fight he takes is extremely important. It needs to be one that gets him prepared for the big fights, while also challenging him to be his best. When Jean Pascal returned in 2018 from his 2017 retirement, nobody knew what to expect. The former light-heavyweight and super-middleweight champion started the second chapter of his career. Now at 37, it appears he is just getting started.
On the latest Throwback Throwdown, FIGHT SPORTS opens the World Class Championship Boxing vault and reviews Pascal’s dominant comeback performance against former hockey enforcer Steve Bosse.
Pascal (35-6-1, 1NC) has been rising through the ranks of the light-heavyweight division for years. Holding a combination of the WBC, IBO, The Ring and lineal Light-Heavyweight Titles from 2009-2011, Pascal managed to wow fans with his impressive knockout power. He fought Bernard Hopkins twice, drawing with the multiple-time champion in 2010. They fought in a rematch in 2011, with Pascal losing the fight via unanimous decision. Following that, the gold medalist via the Commonwealth Games went 5-3 with one no-contest in nine fights.
After a loss to Eleider Alvarez, Pascal beat Ahmed Elbiali via TKO in December 2017. He said he would retire no matter the result, but ended up coming back to boxing just a year later.
“I don’t want to have no regrets and that is why I came back,” Pascal stated, via ESPN. “I take this fight very seriously. I am already in the gym and I will have a good training camp. I found back the love for my sport.”
Pascal moved up to cruiserweight to face enforcer Steve Bosse. A member of the semi-professional league Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey, Bosse took a dip in the world of MMA, where he went 12-2. Following MMA, he tried out boxing, going 1-0 before facing Pascal.
3,300 fans inside the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada were ready to see the comeback fight.
The (Literal) Hook
It looked as if Bosse was controlling round one, with Pascal trying to find his groove. With a year away, would there be a lot of ring rust for Pascal? It turns out, the answer was no.
Pascal started off with some jabs, but when round two hit, he kicked it into high gear. Pascal hit some more jabs to push Bosse back, and then just hit vicious overhand lefts to the face of Bosse. Pascal was smiling while also putting his chin towards Bosse. Throughout the bout, Pascal looked like he was sitting on the couch while Bosse looked like he just ran a marathon; the endurance of both was not identical whatsoever.
Bosse tried landing a few uppercuts and body shots, but Pascal was looking like he wasn’t in any trouble at all. He continued landing combination left and rights to the face of Bosse, and even put him down 1:10 before the end of round three. He then hit a series of right uppercuts and left hooks, each more dangerous than the last. Left and right overhands suffocated Bosse, who while it looked like was landing OK shots, was just being played by Pascal and the rope-a-dope.
The theme for the bout was Bosse’s corner stalling to get his to recover. It did not work, as anything he had thrown Pascal gave back 10x harder. Pascal continued to smile while throwing body and shots to the head. Pascal hit overhand lefts, and had Bosse by the ropes in round seven. The shots were slow, but to Bosse, they were as fast as a train on a track. Round eight was Pascal’s defining moment, as he hit several lefts and rights to the face of Bosse. He missed one key left but made up for it with four, the last one knocking Bosse down. The referee saw enough and ended the fight, giving Pascal the TKO-win at the end of the round.
The Post-Match Breakdown
While his opponent wasn’t as tough as his previous challengers, Pascal needed the fight to gain an edge back. Following the win, he rose back up to face a who’s who of boxing’s best. Pascal lost to Dmitry Bivol his next time out via unanimous decision, but rebounded in a big way the next two fights.
Pascal beat Marcus Browne, who suffered a head cut after giving Badou Jack one just a few months before. With the win, Pascal won the WBA Interim and WBC Silver Light-Heavyweight Titles. He then beat Jack split decision in the latter’s return bout to retain the titles. Browne has since stated he wants a rematch with Pascal, who is looking for his next big fight.
As for Bosse, like Tavoris Cloud in his bout against Artur Beterbiev, he was never seen again in a ring.
Nothing is ever over in the combat sports world. We have learned that with MMA and pro wrestling. Once Pascal had the itch, he couldn’t shake it.
Now back to his former glory, it appears that Pascal’s reign could result in new opportunities. While not all fights will end the way it did for him against Bosse, it is a reminder of just how powerful one man can be if he puts his mind to it.