Kovalev stops Pascal in 2015’s first FOTY candidate Saturday

The wildly entertaining fight produced surprises along the way to an expected outcome.

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Sergey Kovalev (right) and Jean Pascal went straight to the 2015 Fight of the Year short list after their bout in Montreal in March. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Sergey Kovalev (right) and Jean Pascal went straight to the 2015 Fight of the Year short list after their bout in Montreal in March. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

SAN DIEGO, March 14, 2015 – Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev had to use all the tools in his toolkit to stop Haitian-Canadian Jean Pascal in front of his hometown fans in Montreal Saturday in an eighth round TKO victory.

En route to the victory, Pascal (29-4-1, 17 KOs) gave Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) all he could handle, making him eat serious punches. For once, Kovalev looked like he’d been in a serious fight at the end of the bout.

At the end of the third round, it seemed like the fight would be over as Pascal was knocked down for the first time in his career. Pascal was saved by hanging onto the ropes and the bell. Pascal got his legs back, and Kovalev couldn’t finish him off. Between rounds, Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson told Kovalev, “Take your time.”

A revived Pascal rocked Kovalev more than once in the fifth and sixth rounds. It was becoming the kind of fight where it was a shame either man had to lose, an early 2015 Fight Of The Year candidate.


But Pascal was growing tired from the tremendous effort it took to get to Kovalev while taking punishment, and it was adding up. At the end of the seventh round, Kovalev hit Pascal with a left hook right at the end of the round. He stumbled back to the corner, again saved by the bell. Kovalev came out in the eighth intent on finishing Pascal off for good. He hammered Pascal, who started riding the ropes, landing two big rights and a left hook.

But it was Kovalev who hit the canvas, ruled correctly by referee Luis Pabon as a slip. Kovalev got to his feet and hit Pascal flush on the chin with a hard right, and Pabon called the fight at 1:03 of the eighth round, the first stoppage in Pascal’s professional career.

Sergey Kovalev (right) repeatedly hurt Jean Pascal and knocked him down for the first time in his professional career. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Sergey Kovalev (right) repeatedly hurt Jean Pascal and knocked him down for the first time in his professional career. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

The crowd roared at the stoppage, but it was a good decision. Pascal needs to live to fight another day, and the fans will welcome seeing him again. This is one of those times when the loss on paper means less than the respect gained by the fighter due to his effort and heart.

Kovalev landed 122 of 471 punches (26% connect rate), Pascal 68 of 200 punches (34% connect rate. The power punch ratio was closer, 61 to 54. Kovalev landed three quarters of his shots to Pascal’s head, mainly right hands.

After the fight, Kovalev told HBO’s Max Kellerman he didn’t like his start in the fight, “but after the fourth round I got control, under John (David Jackson), and we saw what you saw. I got him from the good right, right hand, and he was mine.”

Kovalev admitted Pascal hurt him a few times, “but I didn’t lose control. I got control in my mind and did my job. It’s boxing, it’s boxing.”

Pascal could take pride in the way he performed in defeat. “Honestly I think it was a good fight for the fans, it was an action fight, I give my best. That stoppage, I think it was a bullshit stoppage, because I was still in the fight. I don’t know why the referee stopped it. It’s not hockey,” said Pascal. “He was coming, he was throwing bombs, but this is the sport of boxing. You get some to give some.”

Pascal said he’s a crowd pleaser and no one will argue with him. “I’m always going to give the fans a good fight, I’m the people’s champion. I will be back, don’t worry,” said Pascal.

Fans certainly wouldn’t mind a rematch, but it’s not their priority After Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and perhaps Gennady Golovkin versus Cotto, Alvarez, or Ward, Kovalev versus another Haitian Canadian, Adonis Stevenson is the fight boxing fans most want to see.

Sergey Kovalev has three belts, but he wants one more and it belongs to Adonis Stevenson. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Sergey Kovalev has three belts, but he wants one more and it belongs to Adonis Stevenson. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Stevenson hasn’t been hot to get in the ring with Kovalev to date, but he was at the Bell Centre in Montreal and reportedly told Bernard Hopkins working for HBO in Montreal would make it happen. Kovalev says he’s ready for anyone, whether it’s Stevenson or a rematch with Pascal. Al Haymon, the agent and impresario behind “Premier Boxing Champions,” represents Stevenson. Could this be a fight on American network TV?

Vyacheslav Glazkov (left) Ukraine remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over American Steve Cunningham. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Vyacheslav Glazkov (left) Ukraine remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over American Steve Cunningham. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

The undercard fights were underwhelming. Vyacheslav Glazkov (20-0-1, 12 KOs) of Ukraine remained undefeated with a unanimous decision (116-112 on two cards, 115—113 on the third) over American Steve Cunningham (28-6-0, 13 KOs). It was a slow fight, with Cunningham winning the early rounds and Glazkov coming on toward the later rounds. Glazkov’s face was roughed up and Cunningham landed more punches. Apparently the judges felt Glazhov landed harder shots or was directing the action in the ring over Cunningham. Glazkov is now a mandatory challenger for champion Wladimir Klitschko’s titles.

Isaac Chilemba (right) defeated Vasily Lepikhin in an underwhelming decision. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Isaac Chilemba (right) defeated Vasily Lepikhin in an underwhelming decision. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

For four straight rounds, trainer Andrey Lepikhin threaned his son Vasily Lepikhin (17-1-0, 9 KOs) that he would stop his fight against Isaac Chilemba (24-2-2, 10 KOs) if he didn’t do more than stand and let Chilemba pound him. He didn’t make good; fans were subjected to two more dull rounds before Chilemba prevailed in a blowout. We recommend he watch video from the Arreola vs. Harper fight Friday night in California to get an idea what fighting with real heart looks like.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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Copyright © 2015 by Falcon Valley Group

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

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