A rematch between Jean Pascal and Sergey Kovalev is set for Jan. 30 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Less than a year removed from their original bout in March, a rivalry is brewing between the two fighters.
“This fight is personal. I’m fighting ignorance,” Pascal said at a press conference Monday (h/t Montreal Gazette). “We need to teach this Russian a good lesson. I’m not trying to play the racist card — he’s racist.”
Undefeated through 29 professional bouts, Kovalev — who owns the IBF, WBO and WBA (super) light heavyweight titles — topped Pascal in an eighth-round TKO in the same arena scheduled for the rematch.
“That’s trash, what he said. It’s his opinion. I’m not a trash talker. I’m a boxer,” Kovalev said. “I’ll close his mouth Jan. 30 [for] all time and forever. Whoever follows me on social media understands who I am.
“I love Montreal, Canada and Canadian fans. I’ll put that between us forever.”
The racial accusations may just be a building block for this light heavyweight showdown, but Pascal says he doesn’t need any added motivation. Not after how he performed in their original bout.
“I gave him his toughest fight. He knows he has a lot on his plate. I have a lot on my plate, and I’ll be ready and well prepared,” Pascal said. “You know me, I’m always looking to fight the best. I’m a true warrior.
“We need to be honest, we’re trying to make Kovalev something he’s not a star. He doesn’t sell tickets, and he speaks worse than he looks.”