Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Pascal_Bute

MONTREAL — Despite a dramatic 12-round that featured Jean Pascal flirting with a stoppage defeat, the former light-heavyweight champion dominated a tentative and overmatched Lucian Bute to a unanimous decision (118-110, 117-111 and 116-112) before a sold-out, hot crowd at the Bell Centre. Bute was the overwhelming crowd favorite, but the repeated “Bute!” chants couldn’t overcome Pascal, who although utilizing his fighting in explosive spurts pattern, also displayed skillful countering ability that kept Bute confused and domesticated.

 

PASCAL’S THREE KEYS: The initial four rounds were a chess match with Bute scoring well with his jab and Pascal doing solid work with hard right hands to the body. However, Pascal completely walked away with the fight starting in the fifth behind these three factors:

1. THE WEIGHT: The main reason I picked Pascal by decision is I felt he’d have hard time adjusting to the natural strength and durability of a career light-heavyweight. That proved to be the case as even the Pascal haymakers that didn’t land clean had Bute stumbling backwards and reluctant to counter. In addition, when Pascal did land clean, Bute froze and was driven to the ropes where Pascal would work him over with 7-10 punch combinations.

2. FOUR-ROUND FIGHTER NO MORE: I interviewed Pascal for Knockout Nation earlier this week, and he was emphatic in stating that his tactic of exploding in spurts was not due to bad stamina, but a strategy to demoralize and dominate his opponents. I admit, I kind of snickered at that, but it’s hard to deny it isn’t intentional and more importantly, not effective. Pascal would take Bute’s best shots and played possum long enough each time that Bute, and many times the crowd, would think he was actually hurt. Then in the span of a few seconds, it was Bute frantically stumbling back on his heels after eating left hooks and overhand rights, or covering up on the ropes after being spun around by Pascal.

3. JEAN JONES MAYWEATHER JR.: Roy Jones worked with Jean Pascal and was in his training camp for this fight. The results were evident in Pascal’s sharp lead right hand that many times stopped Bute’s offense cold. Pascal varied the punch as a counter shot too, fighting out of a shell and popping Bute right down the middle ala Mayweather whenever Bute got bold enough to lead (Note: Pascal also worked with the Mayweathers for this fight). To make it more embarrassing for Bute, in the latter rounds Pascal literally looked in the other direction while waiting for Bute to get in range before popping off a quick right hand.

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UNNECESSARY DANGER: Pascal flirted with disaster the last two rounds by taking his possum strategy to the extreme. While it  seemed like he just took the 11th off, Pascal started the 12th by letting Bute wail away on him in a corner for over a minute. The ref was out of sight of the camera, but you could hear him state several times for Pascal to “show him something,” indicating he was close to stopping the fight. Pascal never seemed alarmed by this and would simply lift his head up and nod to the ref that he was ok.

Considering the dubious calls we’ve seen in situations like this, it’s incredible, and downright foolish, to see Pascal taking a risk like that in a fight he was dominating. Nonetheless, Bute had been conditioned enough by this point to expect a strong Pascal flurry, so he was hesitant to really go all out. Pascal did indeed manage a big flurry at the round’s midway point, but it was Bute who closed the round in stlye with a few counter right hands to manage a moral victory of sorts for his fans.

PASCAL VS. STEVENSON: This is the next logical big Montreal fight, but Pascal didn’t seem enthusiastic to call out Adonis Stevenson, preferring to praise their comradery based on ethnic ties. It also important to note Stevenson is allegedly in talks to face Andrzej Fonfara next, which means Pascal might have to wait until the summer or possibly take Sergey Kovalev.

BUTE’S NEXT MOVE: If I’m Andre Ward, I’m kicking myself for not taking that Bute fight years ago. Many will say Bute is completely washed up, but that crowd reaction says fans north of the border are still willing to pay good money to see him. If I’m HBO, I put on a triple-header for my next Montreal card with Stevenson and Kovalev in separate bouts, and Bute getting one last chance to salvage his career against another former champion in dire need of a win, Chad Dawson.

 

MIKE PEREZ STUMBLES: On the undercard, Mike Perez was extremely lucky to walk away with a draw against Carlos Takam, who quite simply bullied and worked him over inside for the second half of their ten-round fight. Early on, Perez was the aggressor in feet only, coming forward but not being able to land many clean shots on Takam, who elected to fight off the backfoot with a low punch output. An accidental butt produced a bad cut on Perez’s left eyebrow in the third, and Takam slowly started to get confidence.

Takam upped his punch output and found massive dividends when he took the fight inside. As the much bigger fighter, Takam was able to muscle Perez to the ropes and sapped his energy with clubbing shots to the body. The judges had it 96-94 Takam and 95-95 twice for the draw. My score was a clear Takam win, 97-93.

Perez dedicated the fight to Magomed Abdusalamov, who Perez beat badly in November and put into a life-threatening coma. Although Abdusalamov is slowly going through the recovery process, it’s not a far-fetched theory to think Perez wasn’t in the best mental state headed into this fight. In addition, Abdusalamov was a massive heavyweight and landed his own heavy leather in that November fight. Considering that it’s barely been three months, the turnaround might have been too quick for Perez.

However you look at it, the one clear thing from this fight is HBO’s eagerness to paint Perez as a threat to Wladimir Klitschko was a complete “prisoner of the moment” stance.

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Pascal_Bute_poster

Live from Montreal, watch the weigh-in for tomorrow’s light-heavyweight showdown between Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute. The fighters take the scale at 1 p.m. ET followed by the undercard of Mike Perez vs. Carlos Takam. The HBO card airs Saturday at 10:15 p.m.

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Kovalev

Ahead of his WBO light-heavyweight title defense against Ismayl Sillakh this Saturday (November 30), HBO Sports takes a short look at feared puncher Sergey Kovalev and his recent one-sided victory over Nathan Cleverly. The man nicknamed “Krusher” will be a part of a double-header featuring Adonis Stevenson vs. Tony Bellew, airing at 10:15 p.m.

Stevenson_Bellew

The light-heavyweight division will once again take center stage on HBO with the confirmation of a November 30 championship double-header featuring Adonis Stevenson vs. Tony Bellew and Sergey Kovalev vs. Ismayl Sillakh.

Stevenson has had a breakout 2013, having picked up the WBC light-heavyweight crown in a one-round blowout of Chad Dawson in June, and dominating Tavoris Cloud to a seventh round corner stoppage last month. The November 30 date will mark his third HBO appearance in five months. Bellew, who earned his shot with back to back wins over Isaac Chilemba in March and May, will be making his first U.S. and HBO appearance.

Sergey Kovalev is making the first defense of the WBO light-heavyweight strap that he lifted via a fourth TKO of previously undefeated Nathan Cleverly in August. Considered by many the most feared puncher in the division, Kovalev will be facing a fighter in Ismayl Sillakh who was held in similar regard until an upset TKO loss to Denis Grachev lst year. Since that defeat, Sillakh was won four straight with three coming via stoppages in six rounds or less.

The card will take place at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City and airing in the U.S. as a HBO “Boxing After Dark” card at 10:15 p.m.

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HBO is not playing about their “Epic Fall Boxing Schedule” tagline. Obviously, the goal is a unification matchup between Stevenson and Kovalev. What’s intriguing is that the two champs aren’t being given easy “setup” fights so they can look good heading into 2014. Bellew and Sillakh are tough challengers to the point upsets are not out of the question. Bellew proved his toughness and ability to adjust in the Chilemba bouts, and Sillakh has the technical boxing skill, not to the mention the range and power, to give Kovalev looks he hasn’t seen before.

Kudos to HBO for making this happen and really investing in the 175 pound division. Their work over the last few months has made Hopkins’ IBF title defense against Karo Murat seem like an afterthought.

 

AdonisStevenson

On this very website, Chad Dawson dismissed concerns that he was facing a dangerous puncher in Adonis Stevenson with his first fight since a suffering a knockout loss. He claimed his confidence was at an all-time high, and that he would deliver a memorable performance.

He lived up to his boost, but not in the way he originally planned, as Dawson was on the wrong side of a shocking first round knockout to lose his lineal and WBC light-heavyweight title in Montreal.

Dawson promised to come out aggressive and he did just that in the short time the fight lasted. Stevenson landed a solid left as his first scoring blow and Dawson appeared to take it well.

Stevenson came in with a southpaw right jab followed by a pinpoint straight left that dropped Dawson to his back. The champion remained inert for several seconds with just his head elevated before slowly rising on unbalanced legs. Although Dawson did put his hands up halfway during the count, he failed to answer referee Michael Griffin’s instructions, resulting in the contest being waved off.

Stevenson’s victory is his eighth consecutive knockout and first world title win.

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Looks like it might be time to say an RIP to Chad Dawson’s career as an elite fighter. That interview I did with him yesterday, complete with his quotes about putting on a great show for the fans, now reads like an article from The Onion. Turns out that Dawson’s biggest contribution to the fans tonight was getting himself KO’d in time enough for fans to watch the end of Anuglo-Lara and all of Maidana-Lopez on Showtime.

In all seriousness, Dawson looks to be done. It’s not a physical thing — he was in great shape and for the brief minute we saw him, looked to be moving well. It has always been a mental thing with Dawson and I don’t see how he’ll be able to put this behind him. In his whole words, this was the best camp he’s had and he went into this fight supreme confidence. And at his best, Dawson will have to rationalize how that wasn’t even good enough to survive a full round against a guy who previously never faced a Top 5 fighter in the division.

We’ve seen the best of Chad Dawson and it’ll be all downhill from here. We can probably bet on another trainer change, as well. If he fights on, a match against Tavoris Cloud makes sense from a marketability standpoint, but I think Dawson has had his fill of hard punchers for the time being. I honestly don’t know where he goes from here.

As for Stevenson, he has a bunch of options. Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute are among the names he can get. And he’s vulnerable enough where all those guys would probably jump at the chance to face him.

The light-heavyweight division just got a little more exciting.

ChadDawson

You are only as good as your last fight. The titles, Pound 4 Pound accolades and even your resume will be slandered after one bad performance. Look no further than Chad Dawson, who despite being the linear champion at light-heavyweight, has been all but forgotten after being taken to the woodshed by super-middleweight kingpin Andre Ward last September.

Sure, there was a valid excuse for the performance. Dawson had to boil down to a weight limit he hadn’t been at in years, and the warnings signs were evident when rumors came out of his training camp that he was knocked out in sparring and noticeably weaker. But this is the cold world of boxing, where the results in the ring trump any of the circumstances behind it, and Chad Dawson finds not only his 175 WBC title at stake, but his marketability as an elite fighter on the line when he faces limited by dangerous slugger Adonis Stevenson in Montreal Saturday night (June 8) on HBO. A few years ago following Dawon’s disappointing first career loss to Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins told this writer that Dawson’s career was a “failed stock” that HBO brought into. Since then, Dawson has gone on to hand Hopkins one of the few uncontroversial losses of his career. This weekend, we find out if Dawson can truly resurrect his name after the biggest setback of his career.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You’ve become infamous for running through trainers. In fact, you’ve changed trainers 10 times in 11 years. With that said, a few have been trainers you’ve gone back to more than once like Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. What renewed your faith in him?

Dawson: If you really think about it, Eddie is the one who got me to my highest [career] point. When I was up, Eddie was there. And even when I lost to Pascal, Eddie still called and was there for me. He’s a great man and great trainer and the one I’m the most comfortable with.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Hindsight is 20/20, but what was your mindset in taking that Andre Ward fight?

Dawson: I was a tremendous mistake on my part. I took the fight – no one else is to blame on my team. I’m the boss and they followed my lead. The weight took a toll on me. I can’t blame anyone but myself.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Quiet as it’s kept, you’re always taking tough fights. Why another dangerous fight after coming off a KO loss?

Dawson: I’ve got to give the fans something. I can to show the world that I’m still one of the best Pound 4 Pound fighters in the world. I took the fight because he’s a big puncher. I checked him out and watched his tapes. The most that people say about him is he’s a big puncher.

I’ve been in the ring with big punchers, but I’ve survived. That being said, he’s never faced anyone liked me. I know I can deal with a fighter like him. We’ll see if he can handle me.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What else can be done at 175 if you get by Stevenson? You’ve already beat Hopkins…

Dawson: I’m interested in a Ward rematch, but he’ll have to come to me this time. I’m not interested in catchweights. I did what was asked of me last time. But I doubt he’s interested in doing the same thing at 175. That will be the reason the fight won’t happen.

Far as a Bernard Hopkins [trilogy], Bernard doesn’t want anymore parts of me. I think the people can see that. That won’t happen again. But I do want any potential big fights. Carl Froch is one of those guys who might move up to light-heavyweight. Whatever would interest the fans is what I want.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: I know he’s tied up for the rest of the year, but have you given up on getting revenge on Jean Pascal?

I’m always definitely interested in that fight. I know he’s wrapped up with Bute. After I dust Stevenson off, I’m sure he won’t want any parts of me either. On the 8th, they’ll see something from Chad Dawson they’ve never seen before. We’ll try to make the Pascal fight for early 2014, but he has to get by Bute and that’s a tough fight for him.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Why should we believe you about a “new Chad Dawson?” We’ve heard this before.

Simple, I have no doubts in my mind. It’s different when you go into a fight with doubts. Did I do enough? Did I not do enough? I know I did enough in training this time. When I fought Antonio Tarver the first time, I let my hands go. I was in such great shape that everything flowed and came that night. I’m in the same situation with this camp. I worked very hard. My weight is perfect and I’m leaving the gym at 110%.

The great camp showed me how much of a mistake I made going down to 168 pounds for the Andre Ward fight. Believe it or not, it’s been a big confidence booster to be back. I’m looking forward to showing everyone I’m still one of the best.

It’s funny because I always joked about moving up to heavyweight one day. Honestly, I’m 30 years old and this is the division where I’ll probably end my career. I can’t see myself fighting at cruiserweight. I have make light-heavyweight easy and it’s my natural weight.

 

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: If you’re staying at 175, the division looks to be going international with UK guys like Nathan Cleverly, George Groves and James DeGeale trying to build their names. Could you be enticed to take a risk and go overseas?

I definitely think they have to come over to the States and make a name for themselves. I’m through with going to people’s backyards. My years of doing that are over. If they want a title shot, they have to come to me.

 

Chad Dawson vs. Adonis Stevenson airs live on HBO “Boxing After Dark” on June 8 at 10 p.m. ET. On the undercard, Yuriorkis Gamboa returns to the ring to face Darleys Perez.

Bizier_Campbell

MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada — Friday Night Fights featured bouts last week featuring Jose Luis Castillo and Cory Spinks. The senior circuit continued last night at the Bell Centre with Nate Campbell facing undefeated welterweight prospect Kevin Bizier. Unlike the bouts last week, there was a bit of intrigue in this main even and on the undercard. Onto the notes…

 

NATE CAMPBELL THE BOXING JUNKIE: Before the main event, ESPN showed a pre-taped Campbell interview where he described his reason for still fighting as a junkie looking for his next fix. In this case, the “fix” is being world champion again, a feat he achieved back in 2008 by defeating Juan Diaz to become the unified lightweight champion.

But at 40 years old, his body has other plans. Campbell showed flashes of the old-school brilliance he’s known for: rolling with punches, effectively countering, and nullifying much of Bizier’s inside offense simply with upper body movement. It’s the stuff that guys like Archie Moore and James Toney perfected, unlike the faux pas shoulder rolls you see a lot of younger fighters trying today and nearly getting their heads taken off. Unfortunately for Campbell, his reflexes have dulled enough where he was getting hit flush repeatedly and a step-behind with his attempts to fire back. On the ropes, Campbell would look masterful slipping 3-4 power shots only to get creamed with a jarring left hook or right cross.

Ironically enough, I thought Campbell did enough to take the eighth round by lulling Bizier inside and ripping the body. But all that leaning and contorting was too much for Campbell, whose back went out and forced him to retire on his stool before the ninth.

As expected, Campbell said he wasn’t hurt and blamed the back issues on having to grapple with a fighter he claimed was around 160 in the ring. He vowed to continue his career as 140 despite turning 41 next month.

Campbell was right about one thing — his decision to keep boxing is akin to a junkie. And like a feind, it’s an extreme detriment to his health that he remains blind to. When your back can fall apart that badly, the last thing you need to be doing is fighting. The Galaxxy Warrior was the first fighter I ever interviewed back in 2008 and I vividly recall him stating he’d love to get into commentary once his career wraps up. That time is calling.

 

BIZIER UNIMPRESSIVE: Bizier got the W but isn’t someone most will go out of their way to see again. He was completely lost at times trying to break Campbell’s defense. That’s not to say he should have knocked out Nate; even way bigger guys like Victor Ortiz resorted to movement to dominate the Galaxxy Warrior. But Bizier couldn’t even recognize where he was having his best success. At mid-range, there wasn’t much Campbell could do with him except eat punches and with a shorter reach have to lunge on his counter attempts. Instead of Bizier making his fight much easier, he spent the majority of the fight trying to maul and got touched him pretty good in a few rounds.

 

ASSELSTINE GETS A MONTREAL SCREWJOB?: Vince McMahon, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were nowhere in sight, but the look on Tyler Asselstine’s face after the decision was rendered looked like he felt he was at WWE predetermined event. After appearing dead in the water during the middle rounds from Baha Laham’s pressure, Asselstine began using his height and frame to lean on and bully Laham inside. This wore out Laham in the later rounds while Asselstine picked up his punch output. Laham, who landed some very hard body shots that had Asselstine visibly laboring as early as the fourth round, couldn’t find that same rhythm down the stretch with Asselstine’s mauling.

The scores were close with Laham taking a majority decision by scores of 95-95, 96-94 and 96-95. With how he finished, the scores indicate that the judges were giving a good number of the early rounds to Laham, favoring his harder shots and pressure to Asselstine’s higher activity. Laham being a Montreal native couldn’t have hurt either.

Personally, I had Asselstine by a few rounds and was surprised by the decision.

Let’s hear your thoughts. Is Nate Campbell done? Was Asselstine screwed?

JoelDiazJr.

Joel Diaz Jr.’s 2013 debut will be a delayed a few more months, as a wrist injury has forced a pull out of tomorrow’s Friday Night Fights co-feature against Tyler Asselstyne.

Diaz suffered the injury in training and while not going into detail, says he attempted to work through the injury to prevent adding his fight to a succession of fight pullouts that have plagued the first two months of the year.

It just happened, I couldn’t prevent it and it was just one of those things. I can tell you that if this injury wasn’t so severe I would’ve tried to work through it, but after speaking with my team I’ve realized that it is always best to play it safe when it comes to things like this. I’ll be back, this is a minor setback in the major push I’m looking to make in 2013.

Diaz sports an undefeated record of 11-0 with 10 KOs. His last bout was a second round TKO of Guillermo Sanchez in August.

The card, which will take place from the Bell Centre in Montreal, will move forward with its scheduled welterweight main event of Kevin Bizier versus Nate Campbell.

 

Pascal

Pascal: 181.4 lbs.

Kuziemski: 177.2 lbs.

Prediction: This fight is being billed as a light-heavyweight match despite both guys being well over the 175 pound limit. This is Pascal’s first fight in 19 months (1) and off an hand injury so it’s expected that he’d take a light touch. Kuziemski’ record (23-4, 7 KOs) holds only one notable name in Nathan Cleverly, who only needed four rounds to knock him out last year. Cleverly isn’t exactly a big puncher and three of Kuziemski’s four losses have come via KO. Kuzimeski likes to mix it up inside and that’s where Pascal’s power will close the show via a TKO by the 3rd round.

This card airs tonight on Wealth TV tonight at 7 p.m. live from the Bell Centre and feature David Lemieux on the undercard.

Montreal fans can expect a nice slugfest on August 11 when Tavoris Cloud makes the fifth defense of his IBF light-heavyweight title against Jean Pascal. Who’s chin will be the first to crack?