ATLANTA — We’ve seen this story before from both fighters. Jean Pascal storms out to an early lead. Badou Jack surges and punctuates the fight with a late knockdown. But for Jack, the script sadly remained the same with further heartbreak as Pascal scored a split decision victory and retained his WBA title.
Pascal’s athleticism carried the first five rounds, allowing him to get off first with haymakers and body shots. In the fourth, Pascal scored a big knockdown off a right hand and looked in complete control.
Gradually, Jack worked himself back in the fight behind his straight right. Pascal’s offense became more sporadic, allowing Jack to work the body. From the sixth round on, Jack appeared to score the cleaner shots in every round.
Jack had a massive 12th and had Pascal close to being stopped. The champion was floored early by a right cross and took heavy shots when pinned in the corner. Once the final bell rang, a jubilant Floyd Mayweather was certain his fighter had finally secured a signature victory.
The judges saw otherwise, awarding Pascal the narrow split-decision win via scores of 114-112 twice and 112-114.
Both men lauded each other’s toughness and welcomed a potential rematch.