Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Sergey Kovalev

MONTREAL — Someone forgot to tell Jean Pascal that he had no chance against Sergey Kovalev. Before his hometown fans, Pascal provided Kovalev’s stiffest test to date in surviving an early knockdown and hellacious power shots to hurt the Krusher and turn the tide in the middle rounds. Unfortunately, there is only so many clean shots a man can take before they reach their limit. But had Pascal got to that point at the time the ref pulled the plug?

TECHNICAL VS. ATHLETIC; Knowing that he couldn’t match Kovalev’s technical boxing skill, Pascal’s strategy revolved around being fast and athletic enough to catch the champion with haymaker counter right hands. Through the first four rounds, Pascal failed to do that with any consistency and absorbed hard jabs (to the head and body), and guard-splitting right hands for his trouble.

It would be the right hand that knocked Pascal through the ropes in the third and resulted in the first official knockdown of his career. Luck would be on the badly dazed Canadian’s side as the fallĀ occurred in the round’s final moments.

Then things got interesting.

Pascal made small strides in the fourth by landing a few solid body blows and succeeded in keeping Kovalev at bay.

“I let him off the hook,” Kovalev would later state.

Pascal’s amazing rally started in the fifth. He finally found range with those big, looping rights. A few of them stunned the champion and turned Pascal into the aggressor. Pascal’s body punching, and occasional low blows that the ref let slide, had an even greater effect of making Kovalev got into immediate retreat. Pascal continued his comeback in the sixth and was trailing on all cards by 55-58 headed into the seventh.

But Pascal had exerted so much energy in those two rounds that a breather was required, and that’s where Kovalev took over for good. He outworked Pascal in that seventh stanza behind repeated hard left jabs. This threw off the rhythm of Pascal’s overhand rights and Kovalev added his own lethal right hand for good measure.

In the eighth, a series of right hands followed by a left hook sent Pascal careening into the ropes. The challenger was in dire straits before an errant Kovalev slipĀ halted a potential fight-ending flurry. Both fighters went to opposite corners to gather themselves per referee Luis Pabon. Pascal appeared to slip himself, prompting Pabon to ask if he was alright before continuing. Pascal confirmed he was, but never left his corner.Ā Kovalev pounced on him with two flush right hooks that prompted Pabon to stop the contest.

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SHOULD HAVE CONTINUED IN RETROSPECT: Watching it live, I thought the stoppage was ok. It looked to me that Pascal was still wobbly in the corner, and the referee was within his rights to call it seeing that Pascal ate two big shots and didn’t seem in position to defend himself from several more bouncing off his skull.

But seeing it now, Pascal deserved more time to prove he was done. Yes, that is risky — a referee will always err on the side of caution and be too early rather than too late. But after what Pascal showed in coming back from that third round and the numerous other big powershots he shook off, you can understand his post-fight frustration.

“It was a tough fight for both of us, but that was a bullshit stoppage… I’m sure I gave him his toughest fight,” said Pascal. “This is the sport of boxing. You take some to get some. The referee was waiting for that moment.”

NEW BUSINESS: A rematch would be fun, but the next order of business for Sergey Kovalev should be attempting to unify with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, who was reportedly in the building and told Bernard Hopkins, who was handling HBO broadcasting duties, that he will fight Kovalev.

Far as I’m concerned, Kovalev is the division’s champion. Yes, Stevenson has the linear claim, but his competition has greatly diminished that stature compared to what Kovalev’s done over the past year. The fight needs to happen to erase any doubt, but I expect Krusher to come out on top. Stevenson has a massive punch and more technical skill than Pascal, but Kovalev is still the better boxer and his showing last night convinced me that he can withstand Superman’s power. Stevenson’s track record leads me to believe he won’t be able to do the same.

CUNNINGHAM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ANOTHER HEAD-SCRATCHING CALL: Steve Cunningham has been turned into the Mauricio Herrera of heavyweights in losing a unanimous decision last night toĀ Vyacheslav Glazkov. It was a very dull fight to watch with Cunningham seeming to gain a strong lead (5-1 on my card) through theĀ first six rounds. But Glazkov did take much of the play away from a tiring Cunningham in the last three rounds by landing harder shots. In the end, the judges appeared to favorĀ Glazkov’sĀ bigger punch and gave him the benefit of the doubt in every round (116-112 twice and 115-113) while ignoring Cunningham’s higher workrate, defense and ring generalship.

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CHILEMBA UD10 LEPIKHIN: In a case of a young fighter being in over his head, Isaac Chilemba completely dominated a gunshy Lepikhin in the triple-header opening. Chilemba was the only one willing to fight and landed uppercuts and inside body shots at will. Lepikhin’s corner kept threatening to stop the fight in the second half. It was not out of the punishment Lepikhin was taking, but more so the disgust at his lack of effort. And due to Chilemba not possessing a huge punch and being cautious by nature, fans had to endure this listless bout going the full 10-round distance. Scores were 100-90 and 99-91 twice.

You can be sure we won’t be seeing Lepikhin on HBO anymore. As for Chilemba, he’ll be kept on reserve as a potential Kovalev opponent should things (again) not materialize with Adonis Stevenson.

Kovalev_Pascal

Stream the entire weigh-in for the March 14 light-heavyweight title matchup between champion Sergey KovalevĀ and Jean Pascal. Also taking the scales will be the fighters from the other two televised bouts: Isaac ChilembaĀ vs. Vasily LepikhinĀ and Steve Cunningham vs. VyacheslavĀ Glazkov.

 

Cunningham_Glazkov

The Kovalev-PascalĀ main event isn’t the only good fight HBO will be airing this weekend in Montreal. Steve CunnignhamĀ will continue his heavyweight campaign when he faces VyacheslavĀ Glazkov. The opening bout features Isaac ChilembaĀ taking on Vasily Lepikhin.

Watch the final undercard press conference below starting at 1 p.m. ET.

 

Kovalev_Pascal

Watch the final press conference for the March 14 light heavyweight title match between Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal. The stream opens at 12 p.m. ET live from Montreal.

 

Kovalev_Pascal

Be on the lookout for a Jean Pascal interview next week. For now, watch HBO’s Road to Kovalev-Pascal, detailing the March 14 showdown for the WBA, WBO and IBF titles.

Sergey Kovalev vs Blake Caparello

Watch the opening New York City press conference for the March 14 title match between Sergey KovalevĀ and Jean Pascal. The below stream goes live at 2 p.m. Kovalev vs. Pascal takes will take place at Montreal’s Bell Centre and air on HBO.

 

Adonis Stevenson_Montreal Press Conference-0007

Photo Credit: Amanda Kwok/SHOWTIME

Light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and challenger DmitryĀ SukhotskiyĀ formally announced their December 19 Showtime fight yesterday at theĀ NRJĀ Bell Media building. This isn’t the ideal fight for Stevenson considering missed opportunities to face Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins this year. However, the light-heavyweight landscape will be a lot clearer by the time this bout takes place, giving it more meaning for Stevenson as he heads into 2015.

Filling out the card will be Andre Dirrell, Kevin BizierĀ vs. Jo JoĀ Dan, and Artur Beterbiev vs. Jeff Page Jr.

 

Adonis Stevenson_Montreal Press Conference-0008

ADONISĀ STEVENSON

My hand has healed from the injury when I fought Fonfara. I’m healthy and I’m ready to go.

Going 12 rounds was a good experience for me. I train for 12 rounds in the gym. Sometimes it’s good to go the distance and get the experience.

Everybody brings their A-game because I’m the champ.

I know I’m the king of the light heavyweight division and I know that everyone wants to take my belt. I’m going to train very hard.

Sukhotskiy is a tough guy and he’s hoping to surprise me. I’ll prepare, my hands will be perfect and it will be a short night on Showtime.

 

Jo Jo Dan_ Montreal Press Conference-0002

JO JO DAN

I’m hoping to fight with Kell Brook, but I’m concentrating 100 percent on the fight with Kevin Bizier. I’ve been waiting for this fight since I started boxing.

I know he’s learned some things and has more experience since our first fight. But I also know him better now than when we first fought, so I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.

If the knockout comes, it’s comes, but I always prepare for 12 rounds. If the chance is there, I won’t miss it. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t preparing for 12 rounds.

I train 100 percent and I’m sure he’ll be in the best shape of his life. We’re looking to make the fight of the year in Quebec.

 

Bizier_Dan_FaceoffMontreal Press Conference-0006

KEVINĀ BIZIER

If I want to win the world championship then I need to prepare for the best and the toughest fight of my life against [Jo Jo] Dan.

It puts a little more pressure knowing that I could fight for a title if I win in December. But I’m focused on Dan and no one else. I’m just focusing on boxing. I’m not worried about stopping him.

I learned to be more relaxed after our first fight. In the first fight I was going for the KO. I’m going to try to be more relaxed and use my jab this time around.

 

Beterbiev_Page_Faceoff_Montreal Press Conference-0005

ARTURĀ BETERBIEV

I’m not worried about getting another knockout. It all depends on the strategy of the fight. I’m going to fight until the last round.

With [Tavoris] Cloud I was preparing for 12 rounds and I could never have predicted that I would only box for four minutes. I was just doing my job and that’s what happened.

I’m going to be more motivated for this fight because he’s undefeated. Every fight I go in the ring thinking that I’ve already lost to my opponent before. That way I won’t take my opponent lightly.

The amateur career helped and I hope it will help me for the rest of my life. But at the same time I need to progress. I have a lot to learn in professional boxing and I’m looking forward to it.

 

JEFF PAGE JR.

No, I don’t think he’s overrated. He had a great amateur background and he went to the Olympics twice. He has beaten a lot of good fighters and he just beat Tavoris Cloud, so I think he’s a tough opponent.

I have great hand speed and great footwork, but I know I can’t run from him like everyone else has. I’m ready to exchange – I have great power myself.

I think him and his team are underestimating me, but I’m going to use that to my advantage. I’m going to come in and show him right away that I’m there to win, that I’m not an opponent.

Being an underdog is absolutely a motivator for me. Everybody back home is going to be watching. If I win this fight big things are going to start happening for me and my team. Everyone will know who I am.

I think my experience helps. He’s had a lot of amateur fights, but amateur and pro fights are a lot different. I’ve trained with a lot guys – I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve been to Chicago – and I’m getting ready to go to Big Bear. I have a lot of experience and I plan to use it.

I train for knockouts but I’m ready to 10 rounds.