Kovalev Wins, Pascal Sins

By Robert Ecksel on July 25, 2015
Kovalev Wins, Pascal Sins
Jim Lampley said Mohammedi is a “pizza truck owner” from Marseilles. (Naoki Fukuda)

Lefts, rights, bombs, missiles—it was like the Fourth of July and Kovalev’s birthday simultaneously…

Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs), from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, by way of Kopeysk, Russia, knocked out Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KOs), from Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône,France, at 2:38 of round three.

In the co-main event, Jean Pascal (30-3-1, 17 KOs), from Laval, Quebec, Canada, by way of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, won a controversial 10-round decision over previously unbeaten Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs), from Miami, Florida, by way of Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

The three judges scored it 96-94. HBO, with Harold Lederman leading the charge, disagreed. The fans sided with Harold. They booed. They wanted their money back. They forgot having seen a great fight.

In the main event, Kovalev, fighting out of the red corner in blue trunks with white trim, was an assassin. Lefts, rights, bombs, missiles—it was like the Fourth of July and Kovalev’s birthday simultaneously.

Fighting out of the blue corner in white and red, Mohammedi, according to Jim Lampley, is a “pizza truck owner” from outside Marseilles.

Studying his record, and the records of his opponents, I wonder how Mohammedi got this shot. He looked undeserving. He looked ill-equipped.

Krusher dropped the Frenchman in the second round with a right hand. A textbook 1-2 put him down for good in the third.

Maybe Kovalev deserved a gimme after his last fight against Jean Pascal. It took Krusher longer than usual to end it. Pascal had his moments.

He had more moments in the fight of the night against Yunieski Gonzalez.

It was a war. Both men are top 10 fighters. Both men came to fight. Gonzalez’s youth, hunger, and pole-ax jab gave Pascal trouble, but it wasn’t trouble he hadn’t seen before and wasn’t eager to deal with. He may not be the best light heavyweight on the planet, but Pascal is seasoned. He is athletic and has a great chin.

Gonzalez put on a great performance. He chased Pascal. Sometimes he caught Pascal. And there were moments when they were out and out trading. Gonzalez was always in it, but Pascal was too experienced, too clever for the Cuban to defeat. Gonzalez landed 163 of 632 total punches thrown. Pascal was making him hit air. Pascal was economical. He landed landed 154 of 397 punches.

Harold Lederman had Gonzalez way ahead, 97-93. Lampley, Kellerman and Hopkins questioned that score, but agreed that Gonzalez beat Pascal.

I’m no fan of Jean Pascal. He never seems to do enough. But I watched the fight, savored that four-star ring generalship, and could have sworn Pascal won.

The judges saw it as I did. They had it 96-94 for Pascal.

Gonzalez sobbed.

The crowd booed.

Max lectured those who don’t “know what they’re looking at” and might have reached another conclusion.

Kovalev wants Adonis Stevenson (the feeling isn’t mutual). He can fight Pascal a second time, even though he’s tired of chasing Haitians. There’s Yunieski Gonzalez, the man Pascal defeated. There’s Artur Beterbiev.

There are also ongoing negotiations with Andre Ward. If that fight happens, when that fight happens, we’ll see how Kovalev does against a master boxer.

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  1. Jonathan Butts 11:35am, 07/30/2015

    Just wondering why the headline is saying Pascal “Sins”? I mean did he really sin, I get that he lost and the judges said he didn’t, but shouldn’t that mean the be judge’s sin not Pasal’s?

  2. KB 05:53am, 07/27/2015

    Hmm. According to the POD Index, these judges seemed to be right on. Just saying

  3. rolly 07:13pm, 07/26/2015

    The first time I really appreciated Jean Pascal.  He’s a great boxer and a wise one!

  4. Joe Masterleo 06:59pm, 07/26/2015

    In bouts like this one, where there is a wide discrepancy between the judge’s scoring and the crowd/TV announcers and/or the views of the writers on this website, it would be interesting and revealing to have something in place on the boxing.com website whereby a forum (poll?) can be offered to readers affording them the opportunity to register their take on the outcome.  Many of your readers are veteran boxing fans with keen insight into the fight game.  It is understood that there will be variances among judges, viewers, and writers alike on how fights should be scored. However, in this case of this fight, and others like it, this reader/writer would be absolutely shocked if such a poll did not have Gonzalez the clear winner, and convincingly.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:17pm, 07/26/2015

    It’s like some kind of a perverse initiation for new members of the club, especially Latinos who aren’t Mexicanos….they pulled this shit with Maidana and Mathysse and now Gonzalez

  6. eduardo gomez 10:29am, 07/26/2015

    Bad judges again yunieski won the fight but he is no . Part of the game plan welcome to las vegas my friend all here is about money he deserve a shot with kovalev I dont think kathy duva like that obvious
    In.my opinion pascal won only 3 rounds

  7. KB 09:06am, 07/26/2015

      judges: Richard Ocasio 96-94, Eric Cheek 96-94, John McKaie 96-94

  8. KB 08:58am, 07/26/2015

    Who were the judges in the Pascal fight?

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:41am, 07/26/2015

    Based on his unreal punching power and his ability to land his punches Kovalev performed poorly against Hopkins and Pascal. Don’t know what Beterbiev’s smoking but he needs to get a grip, at least for the time being because his style is all wrong for Kovalev….what happened in their amateur days doesn’t count for shit here.

  10. TheSweetSciencer 10:20pm, 07/25/2015

    Gonzalez did not not lose this fight. Going into the 9th, he was way up. He bagan the Cardinal Sin, against the larger name boxer, to begin to cruise, “prevent defense”, in order to “not get caught with one”. Watchers of this fight started to sense that he was way up, winning 6 rounds to 2 at very least, but prevent defense, a lesser named fighter, against a well-known fighter, the “uh oh” began to rise. “Dont put yer guns away, brother, its not smart”. Then, all of a sudden, he began punching again! A hailstorm flurry, in fact! Dawning in my mind, “good choice! Youve won the rounds, now u just won the fight too”! Pascal waited till 45 sec left in the final round to let his hands go. And boy did he ever! He almost grabbed the knockout. He won the round. But clearly did not win the fight.
    Until he did.
    The judge(s) gave pascal the win.
    A travesty.
    Watching gonzalez weap, literally weap… I can understand why.

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