IBF/WBO/WBA “Super” Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1 24 KO) is an oddity. While most champions dictate every move to make their journey more comfortable, Kovalev will travel to your backyard to fight you.
On Saturday night, Kovalev traveled to the Bell Centre in Montreal to face former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion, Canadian Jean Pascal (29-2-1 17 KO) and found himself in a dogfight.
From the opening round, it was a chess match and clash of styles. The precise calculated attack of Kovalev against the speed , movement, and counters of Pascal. Kovalev was working behind the jab following it with the right hand. Kovalev was jabbing Pascal in the chest to keep him off balance and keep him guessing where the jab would land .
Pascal was quick and surprisingly was able to move forward at times and force Kovalev backwards. Pascal was outstanding in countering Kovalev and had a great round in the third but also got rocked by a big right hand for his troubles.
Pascal actually did some solid work over the next few rounds. Kovalev was on the attack but Pascal was landing more huge counter left hooks and overhand rights. The speed of Pascal was the difference in allowing him to sustain a counter attack. The champion was stalking but was more cautious than we have seen him in the past as he was respecting the speed of which the counter shots were coming.
In the seventh, Kovalev landed a big left at the end of the round that hurt Pascal badly as he wobbled to his corner.
In the eighth, Kovalev had Pascal reeling after a five punch combination culminating with a left hook that sent Pascal flying into the ropes which saved him from going down. As Pascal recoiled off the ropes Kovalev attacked and their feet got tangled causing Kovalev to fall.
As Kovalev was getting to his feet and the referee was ruling it a slip/trip, Pascal was drunk on his feet wobbling as he moved to the neutral corner. Pascal was so visibly hurt as he stumbled that Kovalev took the opportunity to point at him with a smirk as if to say, “look how bad he’s hurt”. When the fight ensued, Kovalev landed two right hands on a defenseless Pascal causing the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Good stoppage. The shot at the end of the previous round had already started the damage. All three judges had it 68-64 Kovalev at the time of the stoppage which was officially at 1:03 of the eighth.
This was a great fight and was highly entertaining. We saw the champ pushed like he had not been pushed before and he responded like a true champion. Pascal showed his mettle and fought gallantly till the end.
A few soundbites from the champ after the fight-
On why Pascal was successful early- “I didn’t like how I started, after four rounds, I got it under control.”
If he ever got hurt during the fight- “I got from him good right hand, I had harder fights than this in amatuer career” “He got me with a couple good punches, I never lost control, it’s boxing”
“Bring it on!” when asked about a fight with WBC champ Adonis Stevenson to unify the titles.
On a rematch with Pascal, “If my promoter says I will fight pascal again I’m ready”
Kovalev is now the WBC mandatory and that strap belongs to Stevenson.
Gas up the plane he’s on the move again.
PSST……Hey Guys, Uh, This Is For A Shot At The Title……………
You would think that a fight between two athletic heavyweights fighting in an IBF eliminator for the right to be the mandatory challenger for undisputed heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko would make for a great fight but….
Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov (20-0-1 12 KO) defeated Philadelphia’s Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-7 13 KO) by unanimous decision, 116-112, 115-113, 116-112 in a less than stellar affair and somewhat controversial decision.
Standing-8 had the fight a draw, 114-114. The HBO broadcast crew were in agreement with ringside scorer Harold Lederman that Cunningham had won the fight.
There were a lot of close rounds in this fight. Cunningham controlled the first half of the fight by being the more active fighter. Cunningham used an active jab to set up overhand rights and a good body attack. Cunningham’s movement was also key here as anytime that Glazkov started to mount an attack, Cunningham would use his feet to get out of harms way and begin to stick the jab again. Cunningham can credit his activity level for being the difference in the first half of the fight.
In the seventh, Glazkov began to find his range a bit more and over the second half of the fight controlled most of the rounds by landing the harder shots and was just better for the majority of the round. Again, there were a lot of close rounds and you could probably go one way or the other so if the judges gave Glazkov the swing rounds, you would end up with the scores you did.
In the end, neither pugilist fought like they were battling for a title shot.
I’D Like To Thank AL Haymon
For the second week in a row, we were treated to an installment of the Premier Boxing Champions series, this time on Spike TV. The series is off to a decent start. Two solid entertaining cards that gave us some of the best fights of the year so far. A full recap of Friday’s card is below.
Red Carpet Treatment
The press conference for the May 2nd fight between pound for pound champ Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was a spectacle that received star treatment. Complete with a red carpet and sectioned off paparazzi with camera’s flashing, the scene was reminiscent of the Academy Awards. Some highlights-
“May 2nd. The Fight of the Century. It’s all about the best fighting the best.” – Mayweather
“This fight could’ve happened a long time ago, but it’s the right time now. It’s an unbelievable matchup and I know the fans can’t wait for this. The timing is right and the timing is now.
“We finally made it happen. Everything is about timing.-Mayweather
“May 2 we have a tough task ahead of me. Manny Pacquaio is a good fighter, but last time I checked I faced eight southpaws and won eight times, so I am not worried” -Mayweather
“I believe this is what [fans] have been waiting five years for…We will do our best on 5/2 to make you happy.” -Pacquiao
“In Miami we talked about the fight and I understood that I was the B side and he was the A side”- Pacquiao
“I like being the underdog going into a fight. It has been a while since I’ve been one. This time around it gives me much more motivation and I am determined to prove that I can win”-Pacquiao
“We’re fighting the best fighter in the world, and we’re gonna kick his ass. I’m sorry, but, good luck, Floyd.”-Freddie Roach
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Middleweight destroyer and title holder Gennady Golovkin (32-0 29 KO) will make the 14th defense of his strap on May 16 against southpaw Willie Monroe Jr. ( 19-1 6 KO)from The Forum in Inglewood, California. Golovkin was trying to knuckle up with Miguel Cotto but was unable to get a willing dance partner.