It was billed as the Super Bowl of Canadian boxing, and after years of build-up, Montreal has finally settled one of its longest-standing rivalries.
Jean Pascal dominated Lucian Bute on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, using superior hand speed and aggression to capture a decisive unanimous decision.
Scores were 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111.
Bleacher Report scored the contest 117-111 for Pascal.
Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KO) was the aggressor throughout the fight. He was able to dart in under Bute's defense, land his punches and get out of Dodge before his foe could mount any offensive attack.
Imitating his idol Roy Jones Jr.—who was in his corner for the fight—Pascal utilized fast hands, feints and movement to throw his opponent off kilter and lull him into a false sense of security. With Bute's guard down, Pascal exploded out at him, landing punches in bunches and shattering his already diminished confidence.
Bute (31-2, 24 KO) once again appeared to be a shell of the fighter he was before getting blasted by Carl Froch in mid-2012. He was reluctant to let his hands go, and he seemed wobbly and nervous every time Pascal attacked.
Other than a huge rally in the 12th round, where he seemed to have Pascal in some trouble, Bute was never really in the fight and largely appeared disinterested and unwilling to engage.
In the co-featured bout of the evening, rising heavyweight contender Mike Perez was lucky to escape with a majority draw against the unheralded and largely unknown Carlos Takam.
Scores were 96-94 for Takam and 95-95 twice.
Bleacher Report scored the contest 97-93 for Takam.
Perez (20-0-1, 12 KO) controlled the action in the early rounds before suffering a terrible cut above his eye from an accidental butt at the end of the third round.
From that point on, Takam (29-1-1, 23 KO) seemed to take over the contest, outworking a generally lethargic Perez over the second half of the fight.
It was Perez's first fight since a November contest Magomed Abdusalamov ended in tragedy, with the Russian suffering severe brain trauma that nearly ended his life.
While we can't assess how much of an impact that outcome had on Perez, this much is for sure: He wasn't the near the same fighter he was on Saturday night as he was against Abdusalamov.