Kovalev overpowers Pascal in a sizzler
- Updated: March 14, 2015
Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) retained his light heavyweight championship with an eighth-round stoppage over former champ Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) at the Centre Bell in Montreal.
Both fighters started aggressively with Kovalev using his jab to setup the right cross, as Pascal looked for openings for his right hooks. In the third round, Pascal ate a punishing right hand from Kovalev against the ropes that snapped his head sideways and nearly sent him out of the ring, instead going down to the canvas.
In the fourth, Kovalev kept the pressure on, stunning Pascal and seemingly having him on the verge of a knockout, but Pascal came back strong in the second half of the round, regrouping and landing his best punch of the fight – a straight right hand counter.
“How it started I didn’t like,” said Kovalev after the fight. “After fourth round I gained control. He was mine after that. He got me a couple good punches. It is boxing.”
In the fifth, Pascal found success with counter right hands that began to land clean, bruising up Kovalev’s left cheek in the process. The right counters continued to find a home for Pascal in the sixth, but Kovalev buckled Pascal’s knees in the seventh with a right hand.
In the eighth, Pascal got hurt badly while on the ropes but was saved when Kovalev slipped down to the canvas. However, moments later, Kovalev found his footing again and stunned Pascal again, before referee Luis Pabon finally waved it off.
“Honestly, it was a good fight. It was an action fight for the fans. I tip my hat to Kovalev. He is a champion. I don’t know why the referee stopped the fight. It was a great fight. I was in the fight from the first round. We should do it again. I should have a rematch. I am a crowd-pleaser. At Centre Bell I am always going to give the fans a great fight. I will be back.”
Asked about a potential rematch, Kovalev added, “I am ready for any fights. If my promoter says I fight Jean Pascal again, I will fight him.”
Earlier in the evening, Vyacheslav Glazkov earned a decision win over former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham in the co-featured bout. Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) got off to a good start, staying busy and using his jab but Glazkov (20-0-1, 12 KOs) came on in the second half of the fight and managed to win some close rounds at the end of the fight. Scores were 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112 for Glazkov.
In the opening bout, Isaac Chilemba (23-2-2, 10 KOs) earned a unanimous decision win over Vasily Lepikhin in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Chilemba was the busier fighter and used his jab well, while Lepikhin became too defensive throughout most of the fight. Scores were 99-91, 99-91 and 100-90 for Chilemba.