Photo by David Spagnolo/Main Events
WBA, WBO and IBF Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (27-0, 24 KOs) continued his knockout streak tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada with an eighth-round stoppage of former lineal champion Jean Pascal (29-3, 17 KOs).
The 12-round fight headlined a Main Events card that was presented by HBO Boxing in the U.S.
Kovalev, 32, of Russia began calmly with a series of jabs to the body but was still the aggressor, while the Haitan-born Canadian, Pascal, 31, moved around the ring to land counter shots.
It was Pascal’s counter rights hands and left hooks that made the fight exciting and competitive, as Kovalev had to dig deep in the middle rounds to continue his dominance over Pascal.
After knocking Pascal down with a powerful left hook at the end of Round 3–a round in which Pascal was saved by the bell–Kovalev went for the kill in Round 4.
Pascal responded by playing possum and defending many of the shots while leaning on the ropes with a tight guard.
In the following round, Pascal’s right and left hands began to show a problem with Kovalev’s defense: after throwing his powerful right hand, Kovalev has the tendency of not moving his head and standing too tall.
This allowed Pascal to land thunderous shots in Rounds 5 and 6, the latter of which saw Kovalev reeling back from right hands.
“He got me with a couple good punches. But I didn’t lose control. It’s boxing,” said Kovalev, a calm reminder that to land a punch, you sometimes need to take a punch.
Kovalev indeed continued taking punches but began to once again jab to the body.
The jab to the body allowed him to land right hands that hurt Pascal before Kovalev himself slipped while looking for the kill.
The slip allowed Pascal to recover for a bit, but Kovalev would again land two right hands that forced referee Luis Pabon to stop the fight.
Pascal, who was still on his feet after Kovalev’s right hands, disagreed with the stoppage.
“I gave my best. I don’t want to take anything away from him but I thought that was a bull*** stoppage because I was still in the fight,” said Pascal.
Whether or not it was a good stoppage is debatable, but Pascal was clearly hurt and it seemed as if he’d inevitably be stopped before the rounds’ end.
“I’m sure I gave him his toughest fight. We should do it again. We should have a rematch,” said Pascal.
A rematch may be an option as even HBO’s Harold Lederman was on board, but there is still the possibility of a fight with WBC and RING champion Adonis Stevenson.
When asked about either fight, Kovalev said, “I’m ready for anyone. I’m ready for any fight.”
Steve Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) vs. Vyacheslav Glaskov (20-0, 12 KOs)
Vyacheslav Glaskov scored a unanimous-decision victory over Steve Cunningham in a 12-round Heavyweight bout with shot for Wladimir Klitschko‘s IBF title on the line.
Cunningham, who is trained by Nazim Richardson, was the more technical of the two and spent most of the fight shooting a sharp jab from a tight guard and landing quick right hands.
Glaskov, on the other hand, struggled early with Cunningham’s style, although he did close the distance better in the middle-to-late rounds.
Glaskov did do better to land his right hand in the later rounds, but it was not enough to override the early rounds which were clearly for Cunningham.
Nevertheless, Glascov got the unanimous decision win in an uneventful fight and now has a potential shot at Wladimir Klitschko.