The rematch between Sergey Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) and Jean Pascal (30-4-1) ended the same way the initial bout did. On Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Kovalev successfully defended his IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight championships when Pascal's trainer Freddie Roach called for an end to the fight after the seventh round.
Their first fight ended with an eighth-round technical knockout.
Michael Woods of NYFights.com tweeted the lopsided punch stat numbers from Saturday's fight:
Kovalev took a few wild shots from Pascal, but nothing put him in peril. Pascal had his moments in the third round, but Kovalev turned up the heat in the fourth and began to unmercifully batter the challenger.
A hard jab from the Russian champion appeared to break Pascal's nose in the fourth round, and Kovalev landed a countless number of shots until Roach called for an end to the fight.
Isaac Estrada of Real Boxing News applauded Roach's decision to stop the massacre:
Pascal has the heart of a lion, but Roach's decision to end the action was much necessary #KovalevPascal2— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) January 31, 2016
Kovalev's power, poise and patience impressed Steve Kim of Undisputed Champions Network:
What impresses me more and more about Kovalev is his ability to stay so relaxed in there. Rare for power punchers #boxing— Steve Kim (@steveucnlive) January 31, 2016
Perhaps the patience was sadism. It's no secret: Kovalev and Pascal don't like each other. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Pascal accused Kovalev of being racist, per USA Today (via Bob Velin of BoxingJunkie.com). The accusations and bad blood made this fight personal.
Per Estrada, in Kovalev's post-fight interview with HBO's Max Kellerman, the champion indicated he wanted to punish Pascal more and referenced the challenger's failed $50,000 bet on himself:
"I was punishing him. I wanted to give him more pain. He lost the bet, 50k." Kovalev— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) January 31, 2016
Kovalev has now won 13 straight fights. Only one of them has gone the distance. His place on the pound-for-pound list is unquestionable, and a fight between him and former super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward is seemingly inevitable.
Ward was on hand for the fight. "It's not a question of if, but more of when," he said, per the HBO broadcast. When those two climb into the ring, it'll be the biggest light heavyweight fight in years.
The only title Kovalev doesn't hold is the WBC belt. That belongs to Adonis Stevenson, and many believe he has been avoiding a unification bout with Kovalev. However, Stevenson was also in attendance and did his best Tyson Fury impersonation during Kovalev's post-fight interview.
Kovalev took a shot at the WBC champion, per Kim:
"I would like to fight Adonis Chickenson" Ohhh, Sergy, would cad... #boxing— Steve Kim (@steveucnlive) January 31, 2016
Stevenson responded by charging to the ring and screaming, "I'm the real champ!" No one seemed to buy into his rant. HBO analyst and former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins wasn't fooled, and Kim shared his quote immediately after the show:
"Stevenson, that was all show,''- Bernard Hopkins. #boxing— Steve Kim (@steveucnlive) January 31, 2016
The more realistic fight for Kovalev is a meeting with Ward. That's what fans can look forward to without worrying about ending up on a wild goose chase.
The battles with Kovalev have taken a lot out of Pascal. The beatings he's taken from the Russian are the types that shorten careers. It wouldn't be surprising if Pascal never looks the same again. He's a warrior, but his best course of action might be retirement.
If nothing else, he should stay far away from Kovalev.
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