Bell Centre in Montreal was filled to capacity with rabid fans hoping to see their local hero Jean Pascal knock off the hard-charging, unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev.
Pascal has been in the ring with a who’s-who of the light heavyweight division and he’s beaten most. He was expected to have his hands full with “The Krusher,” but a fairytale ending this fight would not have.
Kovalev has a knack for knocking his opponents senseless and tonight was no different. The light heavyweight champion rocked Pascal late in the third and through the ropes, the first time in the Montreal fighter’s career he had been off his feet. Pascal was out on his feet when the fight resumed -- a perfect right hand the culprit -- but he was immediately saved by the bell.
Related » Play-by-Play: Kovalev vs. Pascal
Pascal was still incredibly rubbery in the fourth, a round where Kovalev threw caution to the wind and tried to remove his nemesis from consciousness with every punch. Pascal was somehow able to survive the round, and eventually cleared his head enough to climb back into the fight. He rallied with murderous counter rights and lefts, but the Russian’s jaw was too sturdy to turn the tides. Eventually, Pascal’s fortunes would run out.
Kovalev clipped Pascal with a sharp left hook near the end of the seventh, a punch he would never fully recover from. Kovalev stormed out in the eighth and tore into Pascal, who was reeling along the ropes, trying to escape. “Krusher” was all over Pascal, winging bombs from everywhere, but when he slipped during an exchange and fell onto his back, Pascal stumbled into a neutral corner. Referee Luis Pabon glared at him, but once the fight resumed, Kovalev raced across the ring and unfurled a vicious right hand, square on the jaw. Pascal sagged forward and by the time Kovalev landed a follow-up punch, Pabon was already stopping it.
The official time of the TKO was 1:03 of the eighth; the crowd and Pascal weren’t happy with how it ended.
“I think it was a bulls--t stoppage,” a bitter Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) said afterward. “I don’t know why the referee stopped it. This is boxing, not hockey … We should do it again. I was not crumbling.”
Kovalev, now 27-0-1 with 24 KOs, felt as though the fight was stopped fairly, but said he is open to fighting Pascal again. However, the gears were shifted immediately to Kovalev’s possible next opponent, lineal 175-pound champ Adonis Stevenson, who came to ringside and demanded the fight be made.
“I’m ready for anyone” Kovalev said. “If my promoter says to fight, we will fight. I will fight anybody.”
« Previous Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal Results: HBO Boxing Play-by-Play Next Pictures: ‘GGG’-Monroe Press Conference »