Kovalev Stops Pascal In Montreal Rumble

Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) vs. Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs)

In the HBO light heavyweight main event, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev went into Jean Pascal’s Montreal backyard and scored an 8th round TKO over a very game and valiant challenger.

Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) had Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) all but knocked out in the 3rd round when the bell saved him. Almost miraculously, Pascal survived the 4th round and came back and hurt Kovalev in both the 5th and the 6th.

Stamina became an issue for the Canadian soon after and as his activity decreased, Kovalev took advantage. The Russian pressed his advantage in the 7th, landing at a high rate while Pascal was missing or simply not throwing. At the end of the round, Pascal staggered to his corner while Kovalev moved with sure feet to his.

In the final round, Kovlaev was battering Pascal all around the ring when a vicious succession of punches sent Pascal stumbling into the corner with his head thrown back. Pascal would have done well to go down or at least take a knee, but he caught a brief reprieve when Kovalev lost his footing going in for the knockout and fell onto his back.

Once Kovalev got up, he met Pascal back in the same corner where Pascal was left flagging. Two more right hands by Kovalev and referee Luis Pabon had seen enough and halted the fight.

All three judges held a 68-64 advantage for Kovalev through seven rounds. The final punch stats found Kovalev outlanding Pascal by a 122-68 margin.

On to the rounds!

Round One: Kovalev lands a straight right to Pascal’s midsection. Pascal moving away quite a bit. Kovalev, unsurprisingly, is coming forward. Kovalev forces Pascal up against the ropes. This could get rough. Pascal moves forward, but is wild. The hometown crowd cheers loudly, but Pascal lands nothing of interest. More wrestling going on than fighting, but Kovalev landed the few shots of significance.

Round Two: Straight right to the jaw of Pascal. Pascal lands a left hook, but not flush. Big right by Kovalev briefly wavers Pascal. Kovalev looks very confident now. Good jab by Kovalev to the cheek. Kovalev is clearly the more technical fighter. Pascal rushes in and lands a left upstairs. His awkwardness paid a dividend just then. Through two rounds Kovalev has landed nearly twice as many blows (27-14) and more than doubled the number thrown (107-49) of Pascal.

Round Three: Pascal lands a straight left after a partially blocked right hook. Hard body shot from Kovalev’s big right hand. Pascal takes it well and lands a right and a left hook that caught Kovalev a little off balance. Pascal has come to fight. Then just like that, Kovalev lands a huge left hook. Pascal may have needed the ropes to stay up. Pascal manages to land a body shot and looks steadier now. Kovalev really pressing now. Pascal is not fully recovered. Kovalev nearly knocks Pascal through the ropes with a huge straight right. My goodness he hits hard. That is the first official knockdown of Pascal’s career (Hopkins appeared to make his glove touch canvas twice in their second bout). The bell saves Pascal. He is hurt.

Round Four: Kovalev stalks forward and is throwing at will. Pascal’s legs are not moving well. Kovalev is coming hard now. Pascal has a chin. Pascal lands a hard counter right to Kovalev’s chin. Kovalev nods and keeps coming. Pascal is still unsteady. He is still wobbly. Pascal lands a very hard right hand. This is a man with heart. Kovalev weathers it though. The round closes with both men swinging freely. Great round for Kovalev overall, but Pascal showed serious mettle.

Round Five: Kovalev seemed surprised going to his corner that Pascal is still here. He’s not the only one. Kovalev’s punches thud through the TV screen. Even glancing blows look and sound heavy. Kovalev lands an overhand right, but Pascal was moving away from it. Pascal lands a decent left hook and comes forward. Pascal stings Kovalev with an awkward right and nearly doubles over Kovalev with a left to the body. Pascal punctuates the round with a left to the body and a grazing right to the chin. The crowd is going nuts. Pascal’s round.

Round Six: A straight right lands to the ear of Kovalev. Another big right to Pascal appears to wobble Kovalev. Big right hook by Kovalev. Pascal’s chin is granite. Kovalev is actually backing up. Both fighters trading shots. A very close round, but Pascal’s punches were more obvious to judges. Pascal looks more gassed going to the corner.

Round Seven: Kovalev gets tied up with Pascal and pushes him down and nearly through the ropes. Pascal looks tired. The fighters get tied up again with Kovalev doing most of the holding. Pascal moving forward again. Not a lot is landing for either man, although Kovalev is much more active. Pascal has earned the Krusher’s respect. Kovalev is boxing now. Kovalev’s jab is winning this round. A hard left hook staggers Pascal backwards at the end of the round. It’s possible Pascal is more tired than hurt. Either way, the fight is turning back to Kovalev.

Round Eight: Kovalev slips on the paint in the center of the ring awkwardly, but is fine. Kovalev lands a solid three punch combination and is strafing Pascal and nearly had Pascal knocked out when he slips a second time and falls backward. Kovalev gets back up and starts hammering Pascal in the corner. A brutal right lands to the Pascal’s ear and referee Luis Pabon steps in and stops the fight.

This was a tremendous fight that will serve the reputation of both fighters well. Kovalev has never been in the sort of trouble he found himself in during the 5th and 6th round. He was more than stung by Pascal, he was hurt, if only briefly. Some may argue the stoppage was premature—Pascal certainly did, but one more blow like the right hand that forced Pabon’s hand could have been dangerous to Pascal’s health.

This was a fight worthy of a rematch. Pascal’s fellow Canadian and WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson, was in the arena, and according to Bernard Hopkins, finally wants to get in the ring with Kovalev. Stevenson has taken tremendous heat for his perceived avoidance of Kovalev, but perhaps the vulnerability he saw in the Krusher tonight has emboldened his resolve.

As all fight fans know, that is a fight that should happen, and right soon.

Photo Credit : David Spagnolo/Main Events

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-Froggy :

No surprise that Pascal at least tried to win as opposed to Hopkins who tried to survive against Kovalev !

-the Roast :

Spectacular slugfest tonight with the power of the Krusher coming out on top. Pascal was game as we knew he would be. Probably saved by the bell at the end of the third, fought valiantly to survive the fourth. Kovalev punched himself out going for the finish and took some hard counters in the fifth. Live I thought the stoppage was a little premature but looking at the replay I have no problem with it. I didn't catch Pascal staggering across the ring after Kovalev slipped down. He was in real trouble. Those two rights from the Krusher were going to be followed by more bombs. Pascal lives to fight another day. Solid jab is impressive from Sergey. Everything he does flows after that ramrod jab. Stevenson should step up but does he have as good a chin as Hopkins or Pascal? I don't think so. Adonis gets stopped in two or three rounds. I wouldn't mind seeing a rematch with Pascal but the outcome would be the same. Very fun fight to watch tonight.

-The Commish :

At first, we the viewer did not get to see Pascal stumble from his corner towards the neutral corner opposite from Kovalev, where he then took two right hands which had him floundering. It wasn't until the replay we got to see the drunken stumble of Pascal. I have absolutely no problem with that stoppage. I, as would most of us, like to see a rematch. Pascal deserves one. -Randy G.

-SouthPawFlo :

Good Fight, If Pascal was a little better conditioned and tighten up his defense it'll make for a helluva rematch.... Kovalev is there to be hit, but he sure as hell hits back!!!

-teaser :

Kovalev just keeps getting better ?what a beautiful jab !! ?good movement?was intent on steaming right over Pascal ?but doing that to the Haitian born Canadian was like drinking sour milk ?keeps wanting to come back up and hurt you !! ..great fight ?no dog in Pascal... the dude earned his money

-amayseng :

Good Fight, If Pascal was a little better conditioned and tighten up his defense it'll make for a helluva rematch.... Kovalev is there to be hit, but he sure as hell hits back!!!
He is what he is that is the best Pascal will ever be. He had some great moments he but ultimately SK is a better boxer and a monster in there.

-DaveB :

Parents, stop bringing your kids to the fights.

-gibola :

I enjoyed the fight but don't join the rematch lobby. Pascal did his usual 'fight 30 seconds a round' routine, but was game as hell. He's unorthodox and hard to look good against, but Kovalev stayed calm and did his job. His jab was tremendous. Though Pascal landed a few right hand counters, I thought it was largely a one-sided beatdown and I'm a bit surprised so many people would like a rematch. I never felt as though the result was in doubt. That's taking nothing from a very brave, game, committed Pascal - he tried to win - but he got absolutely hammered in a bout I enjoyed, but certainly don't need to see again.

-sumopop :

I can see why someone wouldn't think a rematch would necessarily be a great fight. That being said, Pascal hurt Kovalev. TWICE. I had not seen that before. If anyone Kovalev has fought has ever deserved a second shot, it would be Pascal. (David)

-The Commish :

After an afternoon of phone calls, I understand that preliminary talks have already been held in relation to their being a rematch. I don't think there are many of us who would not want to see them go at it again. But first, I want to see the "Krusha' from Russia" tangle with Adonis Stevenson. -Randy G.

-Froggy :

After an afternoon of phone calls, I understand that preliminary talks have already been held in relation to their being a rematch. I don't think there are many of us who would not want to see them go at it again. But first, I want to see the "Krusha' from Russia" tangle with Adonis Stevenson. -Randy G.
I am pretty sure Adonis Stevenson agrees with you ! Win or lose it should be Kovalev's toughest fight !

-Pazuzu :

Man, that was a great fight! The end result was what I predicted, but Pascal brought so much more than I expected. Pascal has the heart of a lion and a chin of granite. He also adapted and found a way, at least for a few rounds, to get through to Kovalev and land some big, dangerous shots. Still, there's no need for a rematch. So much of the fight's drama came from the fact that Sergey Kovalev knocked out Jean Pascal TWICE IN ONE FIGHT, and that from rounds 4 through 8 we were watching the Phoenix-like ressurection of a man who should have been back in the dressing room undergoing a medical examination. Pascal was saved by the bell in 3, and somehow during the 60 seconds between rounds and the first half of round 4, he managed to physically re-collect himself, find his legs, AND change his game to start timing Kovalev and blasting him with monstrous counter-rights. It was one of the most impressive comebacks I've seen from any athlete in a long time. It was also short-lived. Kovalev had the chin to withstand Pascal's most fearsome blows, and as he re-established his jab to Pascal's face and chest, each successive blow seemed to physically diminish the rampaging, resurrected Pascal, and transform him back to the vulnerable fighter who had barely survived the third round. The turning point came in the 8th. Pascal's phoenix had fallen to back to ashes, and he was exhausted, utterly gassed as Kovalev continued to rain down heavy artillery with both fists. Pascal was in a corner when a brutal Kovalev combination had him out on his feet, when Kovalev slipped to the canvas. I saw Pascal stumble backwards, glassy-eyed, to a neutral corner. I think Pascal was expecting a count from Pabon. For whatever reason, Luis Pabon didn't give him the standing count, but he must have seen the danger JP was in before Kovalev's slip, because he was watching Pascal like a hawk when he brought the fighters back together, and after Pascal went immediately in a shell and absorbed two cracking right hooks, he called the fight. Given Pascal's demonstrated recuperative powers so far in the evening, I initially thought that Luis Pabon's stoppage was a little premature. But given the damage Pascal had already sustained, and Kovalev's own demonstrated lethal power, Pabon may well have saved Jean Pascal's life. It was the right call. A couple of thoughts to round things out: 1) Kovalev is on a reign of terror and seems to be getting better with each fight. he may be a Top 5 P4P fighter. 2) I really hope we get to see a Light Heavyweight unification fight later this year. If so, Adonis "Superman" Stevenson may find out that the K doesn't just stand from Krusher, but also Kryptonite.