by Johnny Walker
In an otherwise snooze-inducing card tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Light Heavyweight juggernaut Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) defeated diamond belt holder Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) in a fight that was fought in segments: Kovalev striking first and almost stopping Pascal, who lay against the ropes; the Montreal native striking back and marking up with Russian’s face with some lethal power shots; and finally a strange ending in which the referee seemed to jump in arbitrarily after the fighters had slipped on the mat. When the action resumed, Kovalev landed a couple of right hands and the fight was called off at 1:03 of round eight.
“It was a good fight but a bullshit stoppage,” said a seemingly fine Pascal after the fight. “This is boxing, not hockey.”
“We should do it again — we should have a rematch” said Pascal to the cheers of the fans at the Bell Centre.
While Kovalev was impressive, he took far more punishment from Pascal than he has against any of previous professional opponents thus far — and perhaps encouraged by what he saw, linear light-heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson stopped by to assure the HBO crew that he would fight Kovalev this year.
A shot on the chin from Stevenson of the kind Kovalev took from Pascal tonight and the Russian will have his first professional loss to deal with.
The rest of the televised HBO card was a snoozefest of epic proportions.
Heavyweight Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov of Ukraine beat Steve “USS” Cunningham in a bout that was an IBF Eliminator for a shot at world heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko. This was a clash of such stunning boredom (“this fight stinks” said HBO commentator Harold Lederman) that it didn’t really matter who won, as Klitschko could likely beat both of these mini-heavyweights on the same night anyway, maybe even at the same time.
As it was, the unbeaten Glazkov (20-0-1, 12 KOs) got the nod by scores of 116-112 (twice) and 115-113, presumably because he landed a few hard shots to parry the American’s barrage of pitty-pat touches.
In the first televised bout, Isaac Chilemba (24-2-2, 10 KOs) simply outworked his befuddled opponent Vasily Lepikhin (17-1-0, 9 KOs) who appeared to not know where he was or why he was there, with his father-trainer threatening to stop the fight after every round but unfortunately not following through on his threat. The scores were 99-91 (twice) and 100-90.