It was an all out war in Montreal, as Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal put on one of the best action fights of the year so far, maybe the best.
Kovalev brought the goods early, hurting Pascal on numerous occasions throughout the early rounds. In the third, the challenger was dropped with a violent punch and looked as though he might not recover. Instead, Pascal willed himself to continue, and actually rebounded to land big shots in the fourth and decisively win the fifth, two great action rounds and the crowd rose and roared at the conclusion of both.
Round six was close with both men connecting with the heavy artillery, but in the seventh Kovalev was able to damage Pascal again, landing numerous flush shots. A left hand clearly stunned Pascal just before the bell and the challenger walked back to his corner on very unsteady pins.
Early in round eight Kovalev had Pascal in deep trouble again with body punches and right hands, but as he moved in to finish him he slipped and toppled to the canvas. Meanwhile, a badly hurt Pascal stumbled across the ring. Kovalev then moved in and landed two more hard right hands to Pascal’s jaw and referee Luis Pabon wisely called a halt. The stoppage appeared a bit hasty to some, but Pascal was clearly no longer able to compete.
Pascal showed incredible heart throughout the fight, surviving punches that would have put many other fighters out and battling back with all he had, but in the end, Kovalev’s power decided matters.
[Ed. Note: For more on Kovalev vs Pascal, check out Michael Carbert’s report, “Pascal’s Heart Is Bigger Than The Bell Centre.”]
The HBO undercard proved uninteresting, as both fights lacked the action fans were hoping for. The co-main event of the evening featured Steve Cunningham taking on Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Glazkov and it was Glazkov who took the close victory.
Kicking off the HBO main card was light heavyweights Vasily Lepikhin and Isaac Chilemba in what proved to be a rather dreadful affair. Chilemba was in control throughout the fight, using his head movement and jab to frustrate his opponent. Lepikhin was out of ideas by the fifth round and was largely inactive for the remainder of the bout en route to a unanimous decision defeat.
David Theroux continued his route to stardom with a third round TKO of journeyman Lukasz Janik. It was a body shot which originally put Janik down, and two more third round knockdowns finished the job.
Dierry Jean returned to action, picking up a third round victory over Carlos Manuel Reyes. His power and combination punching continue to be his best weapons, as he used them to dominate Reyes throughout the bout. Hank Lundy continues to call out Jean, and hopefully a bout between the two hard-hitting lightweights can be scheduled soon.
Interbox owed Nadjib Mohammedi a major thank you for stepping aside from his mandatory title shot, a favour they returned in the form of walk over opponent Lee Junior Campbell. Mohammedi used his high pace and relentless punches to dominate Campbell, leading to a sixth round stoppage.
Yves Ulysse continues to shine as arguably Quebec’s brightest prospect. Over five rounds, Ulysse used his quick reflexes and emerging power to pummel Barbados native Miguel Antoine. What was expected to be the first true test of Ulysse’s career proved to be little work at all.
The opening fight of the night saw Russian prospect Dmitry Mikhaylenko dominate an overmatched Felipe De La Paz for five rounds. As the sixth round was to start, De La Paz didn’t get off his stool and the fight was halted. Mikhaylenko improved his professional record to 19-0 with eight stoppages. –Shawn Smith