Jean Pascal climbed off the milk carton and headlined at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday night, looking to shed rust ahead of a probable March date, which will (or would have) likely come against Chad Dawson.
Pascal, a Haitian-born 30 year old, took on unknown Aleksy Kuziemski, a 23-4 Pole, and he had to work to get a win. Pascal labored with one hand from round four on, and did well with that handicap, exiting with a unanimous decision, by scores of 100-88, 98-94, 98-94.
But that March date has to be a question mark, depending on the severity of the injury suffered in the fourth when Pascal started throwing a left hook, but got his hand caught in a ring rope.
Wealth TV ran the scrap, which featured Pascal, now 27-2, stepping it up midway through after starting off slowly, and giving away the first two rounds, arguably. The favorite tried to end the night before the scheduled ten repeatedly but the 35 year-old Pole was stubborn, if not supremely skilled.
The ex light heavy champ, best known for his two clashes with Bernard Hopkins, looked like he was in a mood to get rounds in against the Pole. He went lefty in round four, and we wondered if he hurt a hand. He still ripped Kuz with a right hook, a stern shot. In between rounds, he had his left shoulder massaged and it was clear his left arm or hand was compromised. He moved well, as he always did, stayed cool, picked his spots, and used his edge in hand speed to good effect. Just bombing away with the right, he was still able to win the fifth handily. Kuz didn't noticeably try and exploit the distress the hometowner was feeling. He went down to end the sixth, as Pascal blasted him while he was looking down and pulling his trunks down. Pascal poured it on at the end of the seventh, wobbling the Pole with a half dozen clean rights. Out of the ring since a loss to Dawson in May 2011, Pascal was able to lift his left arm, use it to stiff arm, by round nine. Down went the Pole a minute in to the tenth, would he make the final bell? It helped that Pascal slid left and right, for the next minute plus. He did indeed hear the bell to end the tenth.
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Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV