Photo by Vincent Éthier
Saturday, January 18, 2014, live on HBO, Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) defeated Lucian Bute (31-2, 24 KOs) in what was billed as one of the biggest–if not the biggest–fights in Canadian boxing history.
However, despite the excitement leading up to the fight, it was an easy shut-out victory for Pascal. Bute simply could not let his punches go.
Early in the fight, a tentative Bute pawed with his jab and boxed as if he were scared of Pascal’s power. The game plan was ostensibly to find his rhythm and outbox Pascal.
However, Pascal had other plans as he won most of the rounds by allowing Bute to feint and throw his punches hesitantly. Then, after lulling Bute to sleep, he would suddenly mount an explosive offense, landing barrages of hooks and straight rights that made Bute even more hesitant to let his hands go.
It was a pattern that was carried on until the twelfth round, in which Bute himself managed to land a barrage that seemed to hurt Pascal.
Photo by Vincent Éthier
However, his efforts came much too late to win the fight.
Pascal earned a unanimous decision with the judges scoring it 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111.
When asked about a possible match up with fellow Haitian-Canadian Adonis Stevenson, Pascal avoided any verbal commitments and simply stated, “I’m really proud of him.” He also lauded the fact that both were of a similar background.
A possible fight between the two would be huge for Canadian boxing fans as both fighters come from Montreal.
Photo by AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz
The televised event began with a Heavyweight bout between Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) and Carlos Takam (29-1, 23 KOs).The bout was Perez’s first fight after his win over Magomed Abdusalamov, who was placed into a medically induced coma after his brutal fight with Perez.
Perez wore “Mago” on his shorts and dedicated the fight to Abdusalamov who, according to ESPN, “is still bedridden at a rehabilitation clinic.”
The fight began slowly, with a feel out process that lasted nearly six rounds. Perez suffered a severe cut caused by a headbutt in the third round.
Trainer Abel Sanchez worked between the rounds to stop the cut from putting Perez’s undefeated record at risk. By middle of the fight, although the cut was still severe, it was under control.
Perez seemed to have trouble landing punches on a fighter who does not come forward. There was a stark contrast between the punches he landed in his last fight with the punches he landed–or, more precisely, the punches he didn’t land–in this fight.
Perez, who was heavily favored, also grew tired by the end of the fight. By the later rounds, as both fighters stood shoulder-to-shoulder, Takam grew more accurate with his offense. Takam was the busier of the two, and was clearly more conditioned.
The fight was ruled a majority draw with the judges scoring the bout 96-94, 95-95 and 95-95. Perez’s future remains unclear as he was supposed to win this fight easily.