Kovalev-Pascal II Will Be a Rerun with Coach Roach an Up-Close Spectator

Kovalev-Pascal II – “Usually who fights me, I stop their career. I usually destroy them. I didn’t destroy him because the referee stopped the fight and saved his health and life — maybe,” Kovalev said Tuesday, during an international media conference call. “Now I’ll finish my job. It should be a very different fight.”

“The fight was stopped too early. I was on my way back. Yes, he was winning the fight, but I was coming back. I won the fifth and sixth rounds,” Pascal suggested, although he was behind by four points on all three judges’ scorecards.

If you saw the first meeting between WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight title holder Sergey Kovalev 28-0-1 (25) and former WBC title holder Jean Pascal 30-3-1 (17), there can be no second guessing regarding who made the more accurate statement above. Unless your vision was fuzzy or obstructed, Kovalev clearly controlled five of the seven rounds before stopping Pascal in the eighth. In the eighth round, Sergey was punishing Pascal in a neutral corner and had him out on his feet – and then he slipped and fell to the canvas, forcing referee Luis Pabon to call a timeout. When they resumed exchanging punches, Kovalev hit Pascal with a lead right flush on the jaw that really rocked him as he was against the ropes, and then followed it up with another clubbing right to the head and the bout was halted.

When Kovalev, 31, and Pascal, 33, meet in a rematch Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Pascal will have completed eight weeks of intense training and preparation under new trainer Freddie Roach. You know Roach, the trainer who wins all the awards tweaking established world class fighters and then gets credit for being a miracle worker. It usually takes more than one fight for a trainer to completely refine his fighter into the mold he wants him to be. In this case Pascal and Roach will have had roughly two months together without having felt the actual speed of a live and in-the-moment battle under their belts.

I remember as an amateur boxer representing “Smokin” Joe’s gym in North Philadelphia, three or four times when I fought, Joe Frazier was at my shoulder during the referee’s instructions….and it was comforting having the former undisputed heavyweight champ and the first man to defeat Muhammad Ali at my side. The problem was, before the bell rang Joe and trainer George Benton stepped out of the ring and I was standing in the corner by myself. Which is the same predicament Pascal will be in when the bell rings to start the fight with Kovalev.

As you may have surmised, I’m not enthralled with the idea of the “Mr. Fix It” trainer because I know it’s a bigger myth than the tooth fairy. Fighters have limitations, and based on my observation of both Kovalev and Pascal, I’d say Sergey is beyond Jean’s limitation as a world class championship fighter. Once Kovalev hits Pascal good he’ll suddenly remember how things were the first time they fought and survival will overrule Roach’s instructions and fight plan.

Roach insists that Pascal has picked things up quickly and he’s a completely different fighter now…”If he fights smart, he can win. We don’t want him to fall back into his old style, lay on the ropes and wait and put his hands down” said Roach. Well then it’ll be interesting to see if Roach can pull a rabbit out of a hat and transform Pascal’s mindset, style and physicality enough in eight weeks to navigate him past Kovalev. Remember, Freddie recently said (Boxingscene.com 1/26/16) that Teddy Atlas wouldn’t have any bearing on the outcome between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley when they meet in their rubber match because Atlas hasn’t been working with Bradley long enough to make much of a difference. Yet Teddy and Timothy have experienced one fight together as a team, something Roach can’t claim with Pascal.

The way I see it, Kovalev is too long and strong for Pascal. The last time they fought the shorter Pascal was at the mercy of Sergey’s long and quicker-than-advertised jab. He had Pascal’s head going back looking up at the ring lights when it landed, and that opened the path for Kovalev to land crisp right hands to Jean’s jaw which shook him good and he needed to get away and recoup.

What is Roach going to change about that? If he instructs Pascal to bring it to Kovalev, he plays into Sergey’s hands and goes directly into his power, something he tried last time and got hurt. His other option is to try and out-box Kovalev from the outside and pick his spots, something that also failed because Kovalev pushed the action and forced Pascal to engage or move away. Obviously Pascal couldn’t stay with Kovalev by fighting it out with him and when he broke off the exchanges early to get away it was impossible for him to score.

The only success Pascal had was rushing Kovalev in spurts looking to land a big overhand right as if he were playing the lottery. And for two rounds – rounds five and six – it worked. However, Sergey started to time him and caught Pascal rushing in and hurt him again. If you’ve read what Pascal has said, he hangs his hat on how he fought in the 5th and 6th rounds of the first fight, only he couldn’t keep that pace up and Kovalev figured it out. In fact Kovalev stopping Pascal so suddenly is a testament to just how explosive and dangerous Sergey is.

I expect Pascal to be more deliberate this time and better defensively, but his only real shot is to try and better Sergey with quick counters without getting his head taken off in the process — something that is a tall order, especially with Kovalev holding all the mental, physical and psychological advantages over him. Pascal is who he is as a fighter and I don’t expect him to be all that different in the rematch. Maybe a little more rhythm and boxing and less engaging, but there’s not much else he can do. And to those who have mentioned Pascal having a Plan B or C, forget it; it doesn’t exist for him against Kovalev.

Jean Pascal is an outstanding fighter and I respect him for wanting one more shot at Kovalev. I salute his guts for going after him again, but when all is said and done, Kovalev is a bad matchup for Pascal. Sergey is just too long and strong and seems capable of bettering Pascal at every turn. If trainer Freddie Roach can take the lesser horse and win the Kentucky Derby his first time out, then I must salute him too.

However, until I see it, I don’t believe it will happen.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Check out this The Boxing Channel‘s video with results and highlights.

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-DaveB :

I would love to see Pascal defeat Kovalev. I don't like the way Kovalev talks about destroying people's careers and taking their lives. He reminds me of who Americans thought the Russians were during the cold war. People with no souls. Now that may or may not be true of him but that is the way he talks. As much as it would tickle me and probably hurt boxing for Pascal to win I do not see that happening. I do salute him for having the guts to get in with the best light heavyweight in the world. I see him getting stopped sooner this time and I actually wish he wasn't taking this fight. I'm not a Pascal fan but I don't want to see him get hurt in a fight I can't see him winning. I hope I'm wrong but it is hard seeing it any other way. Pascal doesn't have power in both hands nor does he use a jab or have superior boxing skills. He comes in to a sword fight with a kitchen knife.


-Radam G :

I would love to see Pascal defeat Kovalev. I don't like the way Kovalev talks about destroying people's careers and taking their lives. He reminds me of who Americans thought the Russians were during the cold war. People with no souls. Now that may or may not be true of him but that is the way he talks. As much as it would tickle me and probably hurt boxing for Pascal to win I do not see that happening. I do salute him for having the guts to get in with the best light heavyweight in the world. I see him getting stopped sooner this time and I actually wish he wasn't taking this fight. I'm not a Pascal fan but I don't want to see him get hurt in a fight I can't see him winning. I hope I'm wrong but it is hard seeing it any other way. Pascal doesn't have power in both hands nor does he use a jab or have superior boxing skills. He comes in to a sword fight with a kitchen knife.
Kovalev is just talking pre-boxing fight syet. It is self-psyching himself up, because in reality, he is a nice, easy-going teddy bear that has to force himself to get mean. And in order to do that for boxing, or any sport, or war, or hand-to-hand combat, you have to have that moment of apathetic meanness. Kovalev is just the way he is to whup @$$. But Pascal is the way that he is because he is a cultural-induced apathetist. And I'm just the knowledgable messenger. And like my late, great god-uncle HOWARD Coooosell! "I just telling it like it is." Hehe! Holla!


-deepwater2 :

I met Kovalev at the GGG fight at the Garden. The man was as nice as could be. I even told him he is a nice guy and he said only outside the ring. I annoyed him, I am sure, after chatting with him and taking pictures with him about four different times I asked him for another and he said, How many pictures do you need? But he still took the picture. Another note from that night I was talking with Bhop about Mackie Shilstone and Bhop was as happy as could be and told me how much it meant to him to train with Mackie after the flood down in New Orleans, while he was talking he grabbed Kovalev by the arm and gave him a hug. I think Kovalev and Hopkins are now friends. I also saw Kovalev handing with many guys from all ethnicities. He was chatting with Lennox Lewis and Shane Mosley. That damn Shane Mosley wanted a pic with my wife and I had to step in. My wife is Korean and I know all about Mosley and Korean women. His date wasn't happy at all.


-brownsugar :

I met Kovalev at the GGG fight at the Garden. The man was as nice as could be. I even told him he is a nice guy and he said only outside the ring. I annoyed him, I am sure, after chatting with him and taking pictures with him about four different times I asked him for another and he said, How many pictures do you need? But he still took the picture. Another note from that night I was talking with Bhop about Mackie Shilstone and Bhop was as happy as could be and told me how much it meant to him to train with Mackie after the flood down in New Orleans, while he was talking he grabbed Kovalev by the arm and gave him a hug. I think Kovalev and Hopkins are now friends. I also saw Kovalev handing with many guys from all ethnicities. He was chatting with Lennox Lewis and Shane Mosley. That damn Shane Mosley wanted a pic with my wife and I had to step in. My wife is Korean and I know all about Mosley and Korean women. His date wasn't happy at all.
Ha...Shane acts like the nicest guy in the world, .... that is until he sees another beautiful woman who isn't his.. That dirty dog has no shame...lol.....


-brownsugar :

If Shane tries to sneak a pass at your girl, just know you've been paid the highest form of flattery, lol...


-DaveB :

Okay, I'm happy to hear that Kovalev is a decent guy. People like him really do end up putting on the hurt because they over compensate for being nice. Such is life in boxing. I'm happy that Deep didn't end up hurting Mosley. Man wouldn't that have been something?


-Radam G :

I met Kovalev at the GGG fight at the Garden. The man was as nice as could be. I even told him he is a nice guy and he said only outside the ring. I annoyed him, I am sure, after chatting with him and taking pictures with him about four different times I asked him for another and he said, How many pictures do you need? But he still took the picture. Another note from that night I was talking with Bhop about Mackie Shilstone and Bhop was as happy as could be and told me how much it meant to him to train with Mackie after the flood down in New Orleans, while he was talking he grabbed Kovalev by the arm and gave him a hug. I think Kovalev and Hopkins are now friends. I also saw Kovalev handing with many guys from all ethnicities. He was chatting with Lennox Lewis and Shane Mosley. That damn Shane Mosley wanted a pic with my wife and I had to step in. My wife is Korean and I know all about Mosley and Korean women. His date wasn't happy at all.
Hehehehehehehehehe! OMG! Funny, funny, funny! Funny as heck! Now that was classic. And I have to ride with cha! Sugar Shane may have a Latina g-friend nowadays, but his has serious Oriental fever and mad luv STILL for Koreanas. And believe me, Shane was reminiscing about his Koreana ex-wife -- who now resides in New York -- when he saw yours. Poor Shane! We, Team and barkada (posse) Manny has invited Shane to the P-Islands, but his Cuban-Amerkana g-friend ain't havin' it. Haha! But Lil Floyd is going to eventually come over. Holla!


-amayseng :

I met Kovalev at the GGG fight at the Garden. The man was as nice as could be. I even told him he is a nice guy and he said only outside the ring. I annoyed him, I am sure, after chatting with him and taking pictures with him about four different times I asked him for another and he said, How many pictures do you need? But he still took the picture. Another note from that night I was talking with Bhop about Mackie Shilstone and Bhop was as happy as could be and told me how much it meant to him to train with Mackie after the flood down in New Orleans, while he was talking he grabbed Kovalev by the arm and gave him a hug. I think Kovalev and Hopkins are now friends. I also saw Kovalev handing with many guys from all ethnicities. He was chatting with Lennox Lewis and Shane Mosley. That damn Shane Mosley wanted a pic with my wife and I had to step in. My wife is Korean and I know all about Mosley and Korean women. His date wasn't happy at all.
Good story Deep. Bhop has mad respect for Kovalev because he knows, like him, Kovalev seeks out to fight the best and not find an excuse to duck a fight.


-kidcanvas :

i agree with frank and over the last 45 yrs ive seen this same scenario and 90 % of the time it ends the same way as the first or worse .. i love kovalev, him and G brought some excitement back to the ring


-Bernie Campbell :

Since I was not allowed technologically to comment on the latter post of this fight! Pascal was knocked down on a jab in the early rounds. no bones about it! From the job that referee Michael Griffen did on this job he should be susspended for 6 months! Someone must have layed some heavy cash on this bout to go to the later rounds because Pascal looked like an animal that should have been put out of its misery! Do we forget about Do Park Kim? Kovalov should be fined and susspended, title taken away for reacting to such a little bit of trash talk! He would like to have Pascal feel pain, he would like to punish him! All in the name of promotion? Chalk another up for boxings powers that be!


-Radam G :

Since I was not allowed technologically to comment on the latter post of this fight! Pascal was knocked down on a jab in the early rounds. no bones about it! From the job that referee Michael Griffen did on this job he should be susspended for 6 months! Someone must have layed some heavy cash on this bout to go to the later rounds because Pascal looked like an animal that should have been put out of its misery! Do we forget about Do Park Kim? Kovalov should be fined and susspended, title taken away for reacting to such a little bit of trash talk! He would like to have Pascal feel pain, he would like to punish him! All in the name of promotion? Chalk another up for boxings powers that be!
B-Camp! Now you are going politically correct on us. CHILLAX! We don't need you to become a bytch dude of wax. We luv you just the way that you are. Hehe! Holla!


-donputo69 :

Im baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack....whats good tss....its been a while but im back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets get popping!!!


-Radam G :

Im baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack....whats good tss....its been a while but im back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets get popping!!!
OMFG! Whadup, babeeeee? We haven't seen you in a long, long minute! As you hollered! Let's get popping!!! Time for Da Don's knowledge to get dropping! Holla!


-donputo69 :

What's good my brother Radam G.....Long time don't hear lol....Lets get this 2016 popping....Where my Cotto fans at!!!!!


-deepwater2 :

Welcome back Don


-donputo69 :

Welcome back Don
Deepwater wut it do Fams!!! Holla Back!!!