SERGEY KRUSHER KOVALEV STRIKES AGAIN
By Peter Wells
Sergey Krusher Kovalev became the first man to halt the Canadian Jean Pascal in his first defence of his unified IBF, WBA and WBO(5th defence) Light Heavyweight titles.
Kovalev 27-0-1(24) dropped Pascal once in the 3rd round and finished proceedings in the 8th with a barrage of shots that left Luis Pabon with no choice but to pull the brave challenger out.
Pascal 29-3-1(17) was extremely brave in fighting back from the brink after a slow start, but Kovalev showed patience in waiting for the right opportunity, gradually wearing down Pascal who was fighting at a pace that took more out of him than the champion.
Despite Pascal’s outstanding physique, Kovalev looked the naturally bigger fighter – no surprise given Pascal is a former Super Middleweight. The difference in power was also just as noticeable, as Kovalev landed heavy shots that had Pascal in trouble on several different occasions, while for all Pascal’s punches he landed flush on the chin of an on-rushing Kovalev, they caused no effect outside of the mark on the left cheekbone of the Russian.
Pascal was almost forced through the ropes in the 3rd as the referee called a knockdown with Pascal in no position to defend himself. Kovalev looked on for the early stoppage, but Pascal saw out the round and despite finding himself on the receiving end for most of the 4th Pascal heard the bell again.
Jean’s response in the 5th brought great applause from the Montreal crowd. Pascal attempted to control the centre of the ring and did so with quality punch selection. The swagger that was so apparent in trainer Roy Jones Jr’s boxing style was evident in Pascal’s work in the 5th and 6th rounds. On several occasions Pascal slipped the right cross of Kovalev before landing a flush shot of his own.
In Kovalev’s corner, John David Jackson issued wise instructions to his man, and Kovalev began to regain control in the 7th, hurting Pascal again late in the session.
In the 8th Pascal was wobbled early, leading to Kovalev going down in a tangle. Kovalev with a smile etched across his face walked calmly over to finish the contest with a 3 punch combination.
Pascal has proven he is still a world class fighter at Light Heavyweight, who could be a worthy challenger to Adonis Stevenson’s WBC title. But the fight that all of boxing craves is between Stevenson and Kovalev, an official unification to decide who is the number 1 175lbs fighter.
On the undercard, ‘USS’ Steve Cunningham 28-7(13) was unlucky to be adjudged the unanimous decision loser against Vyacheslav Glazkov in an eliminator to face unified Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
The official scores were 115-113 and 116-112 (twice) to the now 20-0-1(12) Glazkov.
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