By: Hans Themistode
Countless superlatives can be used to describe Jean Pascal. Multiple-time world champion, deleterious knockout artist, resilient, and of course, willing to take on all comers. However, while Pascal has wrapped his waist with gold several times over, numerous disparaging words were hurled in his direction.
Following Pascal’s close but clear victory over Badou Jack in December of 2019, Pascal’s name was dragged through the mud as he failed numerous post-fight drug tests. Both bemused and in utter disbelief, Pascal, at the age of 39, dusted himself off and began his career revival. While the former two-time light heavyweight champion entrenched himself in an arduous training camp, it paid off for him earlier tonight.
A fairly raucous crowd filled Whitesands Events Center in Plant City, Florida, in full support of Pascal. As he walked confidently through the ropes, Pascal nodded in approval. Moments later, a more stoic Fanlong Meng made his own ring walk as he looked emotionlessly at Pascal’s supporters.
In the opening round, Meng pumped a range finding jab in an attempt to find his distance. Pascal kept a high guard, allowing Meng’s jab to bounce innocuously off his gloves. When given the time to strike, Pascal did just that, landing two stinging overhand rights in the waning seconds of the opening round.
In the second, a much more assertive Meng reemerged from his corner. The Chinese native blasted the former world titlist mere seconds into the frame. A strong straight left hand from the undefeated title hopeful pushed Pascal into the ropes. As the Haitian product stumbled around the ring, Meng launched a full-on attack. For the remainder of the round, Pascal retreated and held onto his opponent, refusing to absorb any more blows.
Needing the next few rounds to regain his composure, Pascal came out aggressively in the fifth. He eagerly met Meng in the center of the ring and bullied his man against the ropes. The crowd roared in approval as he peppered Meng’s body with numerous blows before connecting on several straight rights and overhand lefts.
A seemingly flustered Meng continued to lay against the ropes, waiting for his reprieve. That moment, however, would come shortly after. In the seventh, Pascal appeared winded. He lethargically waltzed to the center of the ring. A quick barrage of punches by Meng left Pascal on wobbly legs. The former world titlist languished listlessly in the corner as Meng teed off mercilessly.
Appearing to take the eighth off, Pascal performed at his best in the ninth. During the period, a short and quick exchange on the inside was punctuated by Pascal with a sharp uppercut. Seconds later, Meng hit the deck.
Pascal’s confidence grew in the 10th. After connecting on several unanswered shots, time was called by referee Chris Young as Meng’s corner was ordered to fix the tape around his gloves. Given more time to rest, Pascal seethed and pounded his gloves together, garnering a reaction from his staunch supporters.
Once given the green light to continue, Pascal launched a full-blown assault. Although Meng’s corner appeared worried, the Chinese product remained calm, fighting back vigorously in the waning seconds.
After a nip and tuck 11th, both fighters left it all in the ring in the final round. Pascal took the initiative, pounding his man against the ropes before Meng turned the tables in the remaining few seconds.
From the moment the final bell rang, both fighters rose their hands victoriously in the air. Nevertheless, only one man would leave with the victory.
As the crowd waited nervously, they erupted as Pascal was handed a fairly wide unanimous decision victory.
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