Jean Pascal has decided not to pursue an offer from the International Boxing Federation to face Artur Beterbiev in a light heavyweight final eliminator.
The former world champion had until Friday to make his mind up after Isaac Chilemba, Andrzej Fonfara and Seanie Monaghan all passed over the fight for one reason or another. Pascal ultimately decided that the fight is not in his best interests as the Haitian-Canadian looks to build on his recent close decision win over Yunieski Gonzalez.
Pascal’s decision now gives Sullivan Barrera the opportunity to face Beterbiev in a battle of two undefeated fighters. The winner would then face Sergey Kovalev next year.
“Jean Pascal formally declined the invitation to face Artur Beterbiev (IBF # 2). The next ranked contender available to the IBF is Cuban Sullivan Barrera (IBF # 9). The deadline for response is 26 August,” said Beterbiev’s promoters GYM.
Barrera, 33, has steadily impressed in the pro ranks in putting together a 16-0 record with 11 KO’s, having recently crushed both Jeff Lacy and Hakim Zoulikha on his march towards an inevitable world title shot.
A match-up with Beterbiev, who is currently 9-0 and on the fast track to a championship chance, would be a mouth-watering clash of two big-hitters, although Barrera must now decide by Wednesday if that’s the right career path to take.