Bell Centre Report – Saturday night, January 30th the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada was electric as the opening bell sounded for the re-match between Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal. The fight aired on HBO Boxing, just like the first meeting between the two men. And the results this time would be similar to the first match as well.
The opening round saw Kovalev start off pressuring Pascal. It would be like that throughout the fight, as Pascal chose to counter-punch, at times looking to land one big shot. A sequence where Kovalev appeared to land a jab that caught Pascal off guard sent him to the floor, but was ruled a slip. The second round saw Kovalev grow more comfortable, as he was working the body with hard punches.
By the third round, the fight deteriorated into a sloppy affair where both men fell to the canvas in a clinch early on. Pascal refused a touch of gloves, but the bravado could not hide the fact that he was beginning to wither under Kovalev’s steady onslaught.
Early in the fifth, Kovalev landed a big right hand that left Pascal on queer street. Pascal spent the rest of the round running from Kovalev, who was in “hunter” mode. Kovalev pressured but did not go crazy throwing punches. In the end Pascal survived the round, barely.
Between the fifth and sixth rounds, Freddie Roach in Pascal’s corner appeared concerned about Pascal and he spoke about stopping the fight.
The sixth round saw the pace drop off, but Pascal threw very few punches and it was clearly Kovalev who logged another round. Roach again threatened to stop the fight, but Pascal begged to continue.
Kovalev was relentless, and he maintained a busy work rate with a lot of power on all of his punches and he did not seem to be tiring. Pascal was unable to mount any offense in round seven, and Roach called the fight off before the start of the eighth.
Much was made before the fight about Pascal, and what he could possibly do to Kovalev after the first loss. Pascal came in to this fight in phenomenal shape and with new trainer Roach in tow. He was a much better fighter, or so he claimed.
For as much as Pascal came in a better version of himself, Kovalev had improved also. Pascal was very game, but his body would not respond after the non-stop punishment put on him by Kovalev. The undefeated Russian actually took 1:03 seconds less earning the stoppage this time out. And that is why they call him “The Krusher”.
In the chief undercard bouts, Francis Lafreniere (10-5-2, 6 KOs) outpointed Renan St. Juste (26-4-1,18 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight contest and Dmitry Mikhaylenko (20-0, 9 KOs) out-pointed Karim Mayfield (19-2-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight match.
The Lafreniere-St. Juste bout was an all-Quebec affair. Age caught up with the 43-year-old St. Juste who has been campaigning since 2003. The scores were 99-90 and 97-92 twice.
The Mikhaylenko-Mayfield contest was one-sided. The Russian pitched a shutout on two of the three scorecards. The 35-year-old Mayfield, who fights out of San Francisco, has seen his career go downhill after a promising start that saw him win his first 17 fights.
In a battle of unbeatens, Montreal’s Steven Butler advanced to 14-0-1 with an eight round decision over Antonio Hoffman in a super welterweight match. A native of Angola who fights out of Germany, the 21-year-old Hoffman was making his North American debut. He came in with a record of 13-0.
Below is a photo of the official judges scores compiled by the Quebec Boxing Commission for the Kovalev vs Pascal bout. No controversies in this one:
Check out this The Boxing Channel‘s video with results and highlights.