Photo by Vincent Ethier/Interbox
On Saturday, January 30, 2016, HBO’s World Championship Boxing kicked off with a double header starting with a Welterweight tussle between Dmitry “The Mechanic” Mikhaylenko (21-0, 9 KOs) and Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (19-3-1, 11 KOs).
The main event featured a Light Heavyweight rematch between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) and Jean Pascal (30-4-1, 17 KOs).
Mikhaylenko and Mayfield had a lot riding on their fight for different reasons, one was getting his first crack on HBO, while the other was possibly looking at his last.
Mikhaylenko has the backstory–HBO featured a captivating piece involving Mikhaylenko’s father’s passing and his mother’s illness–so the stage was set for him to impress boxing fans against a last-minute replacement.
The promotion for the grudge match between Kovalev and Pascal was filled with animosity. Pascal continually brought up Kovalev’s questionable comments regarding black fighters, vowing to fight ignorance and “teach this Russian a good lesson,” (via Bloody Elbow).
Kovalev went into the rematch with Pascal not only trying to bash Pascal’s face in, but he also had to try to spark more interest in a future clash with undefeated pound-for-pound fighter, Andre Ward.
As a reminder, the win-loss column only tells part of the story. Read on as we look at the big winners—and losers—from Saturday night’s action in Montreal.