SAN DIEGO, March 14, 2015 – Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev made an impressive showing in his November bout against Bernard Hopkins, not with his usual display of knockout power, but with his stamina and his patience. It was a smart fight by Kovalev against type.
By contrast, Haitian-Canadian Jean Pascal’s last bout in December was messy and controversial, a no contest after two rounds against Roberto Bolonti. Pascal had Bolonti down early in the second round, and put him down again with a punch as the referee was separating the pair from a clench. Bolonti’s trainer was alleged to have told him to stay down and end the bout. The bout was originally called a disqualification, but was changed to a no contest to allow Pascal to meet Kovalev in tonight’s fight.
The obvious next opponent looming for Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) was Adonis Stevenson, another Haitian-born Canadian and the number one light heavyweight, at least on paper. Stevenson hasn’t been hot to get in the ring Kovalev, but he can’t avoid Kovalev forever them and consider his career truly viable at the top level.
Meanwhile, Kovalev and Main Events promoter Kathy Duva are smart to get him into the ring right away and check off one of the next ranked light heavyweight contenders off his list, such as Pascal, then staging the big fight with Stevenson fans would love to see.
While Kovalev is the prohibitive favorite, Pascal’s recent association with Roy Jones Junior has produced a new approach by Pascal. Call it Roy Jones Junior Light. Like vintage Jones, he fights in intervals, roaring forward, then easing off and playing possum, only to erupt again when he senses an opening.
Kovalev and Pascal mixed it up at their final news conference this week, with Pascal knocking Kovalev’s hat off during their face off, and Kovalev giving Pascal a shove in return. It isn’t too smart to make Kovalev mad. Count on Kovalev to channel his temper into a more disciplined show of attack, similar to his performance against Hopkins. Pascal hasn’t ever been knocked out, and it isn’t likely he will go down tonight unless Kovalev has a little luck on his side.
Pascal’s knockouts have been few the past eight years, with only one outright KO and three TKOs since 2007. He isn’t going to put Kovalev on the canvas, and he isn’t likely to be as busy as Kovalev. If you don’t give yourself more chances to connect, you’re going to lose a decision, even if you’re fighting in front of your home town fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre in boxing crazy Quebec.
Kovalev puts his three light heavyweight belts on the line tonight, but it isn’t much of a risk. He will cross off another task on his list while we waits for the chance to face Stevenson in the fight everyone is patiently waiting to see.
On the televised part of the undercard, fans will see two contests featuring the bigger boys, heavyweights Steve Cunningham (28-6-0, 13 KOs) and Vyacheslav Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 KOs), and light heavyweights Vasily Lepikhin (17-0-0, 9 KOs) and Isaac Chilemba (23-2-2, 10 KOs). Glazkov and Chilemba are ranked within the top ten pound for pound list in their respective weight classes. Wins may give both opportunities against one of the bigger names, especially if the top ranked guys can’t get it together.
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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