Passing Over Pascal

By Joe Masterleo on March 16, 2015
Passing Over Pascal
Saturday in Montreal, overmatched Pascal managed to win a few rounds. (Herby Whyne)

At this point in his career, Jean Pascal should take the advice of his philosopher namesake in humbling himself…

“The last act is bloody, however fine the rest of the play.”—Blaise Pascal

The prohibitive favorite going into the fight, Russian light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) stopped former WBC light heavyweight Canadian champion Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) by TKO in the 8th round Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With another impressive victory, Kovalev retains the IBF, WBO and WBA light heavyweight championships. Though Pascal’s performance was formidable in spots, he hit the canvas twice during the bout in the 4th and 8th rounds, and was clearly outclassed and outgunned overall.

The fight was rightly halted early in round 8 after Pascal got up from a knockdown and took two big right hands following a woozy waltz down Queer Street toward the corner where he met his Waterloo. Despite Pascal’s showy protests after the stoppage, and a bevy of post-fight disclaimers from this Roy Jones look-alike, the fight was rightly halted early in round 8 after Pascal got up from a knockdown, barely able to stand. Despite the reservations of announcer Max Kellerman, referee Luis Pabon was right on it, looking into the half-mast eyes of Pascal all the way before his responsible act of mercy ended it. 

While the overmatched Pascal did manage to win a few rounds and tag Kovalev with several power shots throughout, he simply did not do enough or have enough to overcome his busier and more skilled opponent. Though Kovalev packs a famously powerful right hook, Pascal kept his left hand down near his waist most of the bout, a fatal flaw that eventually caught up with him. Pascal was in retreat-mode a majority of the time in each round, failing to take the fight to the fearsome Kovalev, not letting his hands go enough to neutralize his opponent save for an occasional flurry, or make the champion pay for his many bold but vulnerable forays toward him.

Two surprises in the fight that went without notice by ring announcers Kellerman, Jim Lampley and Bernard Hopkins; (a) in mounting his offense, the relentlessly pressing Kovalev is open to being hit by an effective counterpuncher, which Pascal was not; (b) Kovalev seemed to tire after failing to put Pascal away following round four, and was clearly seen chest-heaving on camera close-ups, heavily sucking wind between subsequent rounds. Future opponents will want to take note of that, perhaps strategizing to keep their distance while hoping to catch the champ later in the fight, if they can manage the distance unscathed.

Although Pascal demonstrated his capacity to take a punch, fighting courageously with stamina and resolve after taking Kovalev’s best, excitement-wise the caliber of this bout was much ballyhooed and overhyped by Pascal’s hometown fans, who, along with HBO announcers, anticipated muster than the challenger never garnered, and began drum-beating for a rematch almost before the bout was over. Says here, in boxing there are horses for courses—meaning, if Kovalev and Pascal fight ten times, says here, Kovalev goes 10 for 10 in drubbing the ex-champ. 

Truth be told, Adonis Stevenson should come out of hiding, and sooner, making good on his post-fight promise to Bernard Hopkins in taking on the Kremlin Krusher. However, should that light heavyweight matchup occur, Stevenson must learn from Pascal’s mistakes in mounting a busier counterpunching strategy of his own if he is to have any chance against the aggressive, swarming champion. To date, however, in avoiding Kovalev by maintaining a steady diet of lesser opponents, along with his silence on same, Stevenson has thus far already betrayed the state of his soul, thus far fearfully skirting the champ.

Simply put, people rarely see themselves for who they are, or what their relative merit or value is in the scheme of things, least of all boxers. Therefore, a Pascal-Kovalev rematch is not in order, despite the HBO shills in concert with the ex-champ’s vain pleas that he deserves another shot. At this point in his career, Jean Pascal should take the advice of his philosopher namesake above in humbling himself, following his first KO-drubbing in the ring. After all, he who exalts himself shall sooner be humbled. 

As the name Pascal means “Easter” (‘Born in Passover’) in French, post-Kovalev, his boxing eggs now appear less colorful than they were once cracked-up to be, with no future resurrection in sight for being a serious threat for the top light heavyweight crown again.

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  1. Joe Masterleo 05:55pm, 03/21/2015

    Your prefer chest-beating, I suppose?  Perhaps King-Kong style.

  2. Darrell 01:15am, 03/20/2015

    A heaving chest?!.....I guess he beat Pascal down whilst his chest was heaving.  There is such a thing as getting ones second wind, aside from sucking in some big gulps of air in the corner there was very little discernible degradation in Kovalev’s performance.

  3. Joe Masterleo 03:25am, 03/17/2015

    Sergei:  Couldn’t agree with you more on Stevenson, though short of hurting Kovalev early in the bout, its difficult to counter the notion that strategically, a challenger’s best shot is to take him into the later rounds, scoring effectively along the way.  Never implied that Stevenson is sure to be the man.  He isn’t, but still needs a game plan.  Stevenson is to Kovalev what Patterson (“the rabbit”) was to Liston back in the ealy 60’s, taking on Liston only after Floyd could run no more.  As noted, Stevenson is already toast via the fear factor, something that was all over Pascal’s face during the preliminaries, and in his retreating posture during the bout, reflecting more than an ordinary amount of caution.  You don’t win championships by retreating.  For sure, while Kovalev and the other E. Europeans are here to stay, no man is invincible in the ring.  And as for sucking wind?  Watch the replays carefully after the 4th round and beyond, your hero was more than ordinarily winded.  For that matter, so was W. Klitchko in his last fight prior and during the round he KO’d Pulev in Hamburg, Germany.  Again, a la Kovalev, one’s best shot vs. Klitchko, other than hurting him early, is to wait him out.

  4. Sergei 06:45pm, 03/16/2015

    Chest heaving?  I find it laughable that many “writers” and casual fans think just because Kov got tagged by Pascal that warriors like he and GGG should remain unscathed in a bout or they show serious flaws. Lest ANYONE suggests that Stevenson saw some chink in Sergei’s armor and will pounce one day, don’t believe for a second Kovalev will fight him like he did Pascal. Pascal is more dangerous then Adonis in terms of skill. Adois is a one trick pony that gasses after 7. Fonfara showed this big as daylight. Stevenson will get demolished.

    FAce it the Eastern Europeans are here to stay. The even speak English better than our champs.

  5. Koolz 08:57am, 03/16/2015

    Thank God for the stoppage.  Pascal was stumbling around that is not good.  He didn’t even try to defend himself with the last to rights to the head.

    Head injuries are a very real and scary event, boxers can die from them.

    It’s a sport not a death wish!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:37am, 03/16/2015

    Now Pascal says Pabon saved Kovalev from being KOd….as if Pascal was going to come on in the later rounds. After having a Goddamned picnic in the first ten with a gun shy, head case of a Bute….Pascal got the shit shook out of him in the last two rounds when Bute finally figured out that Pascal didn’t hit as hard as Froch.

  7. Kid Blast 08:22am, 03/16/2015

    Time for SuperPimp to get his beating

  8. Kid Blast 08:20am, 03/16/2015

    Pabon is as good as it gets.

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:12am, 03/16/2015

    Pabon, the consummate pro, close enough to the action to be sprayed with blood, sweat , and snot, is being second guessed up the ying-yang here. I say he has a deep seated aversion to the possibility of fighters being removed from the ring on gurneys on his watch.

  10. Bill Angresano 05:31am, 03/16/2015

      Hello Joe !! A double treat, reading about Boxing, and your reference to Blaise Pascal!!!! Who would have thought… Great article.

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