By: William Holmes
HBO’s World Championship Boxing Series was broadcast tonight from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada and featured a light heavyweight title rematch between Jean Pascal and current champion Sergey Kovalev.
Kovalev won by an 8th round TKO in their first fight in March of 2015.
The opening bout of the telecast was between undefeated Russian welterweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko (20-0) and Karim Mayfield (19-2-1) in the welterweight division for the USBA Championship.
Mayfield started off the bout aggressively by aldning an early straight right hand followed by some wild bombs which caused him to slip to the mat. Mayfield looked like the smaller man in the ring, and Mikhaylenko had no problems taking Mayfield’s power shots.
Mikhaylenko began to walk Mayfield down and land sharp jabs in the second round. Mikhaylenko began to really take over in the third round with hard shots to the body.
Mayfield opened up the fourth round with a wild hook that connected, but he was showing signs of fatigue with a wide open mouth and Mikhaylenko pressure remained relentless.
Mayfield was hurt at the end of the sixth round from a combination by Mikhaylenko, and he was visibly wilting from the pressure of Mikhaylenko.
Mikhaylenko never slowed down and Mayfield was never able to hurt him. The bout went the full distance and the final scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91 for Dmitry Mikhaylenko.
The final scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91 for Dmitry Mikhaylenko.
The main event of the evening was between current title holder Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1) and Jean Pascal (30-3-1) for the IBF, WBO, and WBA Light Heavyweight titles.
Pascal, after losing his bout to Kovalev and looking subpar in his last bout, decided to hire legendary trainer Freddie Roach.
Pascal walked into the ring first with the help of a live band, while Kovalev walked out second to a mixture of cheers and boos.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and the crowd was loud and boisterous. Kovalev connected an early over the top right hand and was using an effective jab to the body. Pascal was missing with his counter right hands, and Kovalev appeared to score a knockdown with a jab, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Kovalev remained aggressive in the second round and Pascal seemed hesitant to let his hands go. Kovalev was connecting with his lead right hand as well as his jab cross combinations. Kovalev’s jabs continued to be effective in the third round and forced Pascal to tie up whenever he was in trouble.
Pascal’s punch output continued to decrease as the fight went on, though he did land an occasional power shot. Kovalev however, took those shots well and had Pascal back pedaling for most of the bout.
Pascal was staggered in the fifth round from a heavy straight right and was getting tagged at will by Kovalev. Pascal was warned before the start of the sixth round by Freddie Roach that he may stop the fight, but Pascal was able to offer up little offense as Kovalev’s heavy jabs were landing to the body and head and may have broken Pascal’s nose.
Roach told Pascal again before the start of the seventh round that he was going to stop the fight, but Pascal begged Roach to allow him to continue. Pascal came out for the seventh, but Kovalev did not let up and continued his dominance.
At the end of the seventh round Roach had finally seen enough and decided to stop the fight.
Kovalev wins by TKO at the end of round seven after Pascal corner stopped the bout, and noted to Max Kellerman that he still had no respect for Jean Pascal.