Sergey Kovalev, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion
I am waiting for March 14. This day for me mean a lot. This is the first time defending two of my titles. I am sure it will be a really great boxing date on HBO.
Pascal will be the hugest opponent in my career. I fought top guys.
[On common opponents Darnell Boone and Bernard Hopkins] Any fight is different because opponents are different on different dates. I can win somebody very easy but then can be very hard for somebody else. Pascal had problems with Hopkins but I beat him easy. It depends on the situation. It will be interesting what will happen March 14. Jean Pascal will see a problem.
[On his next fight] My plan is, first of all, to defend my three titles against Pascal. It is the most important thing in my career for now. After the fight, my goal is to get all four titles in my division.
[On the pressure to secure the knockout] I am going into the ring for my next victory. Knockout or decision doesn’t matter as long as I get the victory. Sure I am going to get my next victory. How it will happen, nobody knows. I am not speculating in the future what will happen. It just so happens that I stop my opponents early. Jean Pascal is my hugest challenger. This fight can be 12 rounds again. We can get score decision. Anything can happen. If it will be KO, it will be good for me. I am going to ring to show how I can do boxing. I want to see the result of my preparations.
[On the Hopkins fight] I am not going to say what I should do against Pascal. I have some strategy for the fight with Hopkins. Bernard Hopkins fooled me and made counter-attack. I felt this and I did what I came to do. It looked very smart.
[On the birth of his son] Thank you for your congrats. I am in training camp and they are home. We talk through the Skype and the phone for 5-10 minutes in the morning and at night after his bath before he goes to sleep. I don’t want him to forget how I look. After this fight I will see my family and hug and kiss them.
[On Adonis Stevenson] I don’t care who I fight next. My next fight against Pascal on March 14. That is the only thing I am thinking about right now. I am not thinking about anyone else.
Jean Pascal, Former light heavyweight world champion
This fight is going to be a great, classic fight of the best against the best. Sergey thinks he is the best. I think I am the best. It is going to be a big night in Montreal. It is like Rocky IV. East versus the West. I am a huge underdog. The odds are four to one against me and I am going to be the black Balboa. The fans need to show up for this epic night. I think Sergey deserves way more money and I am very glad I am giving him this opportunity.
[On his long layoff] I don’t think it is going to affect me. I have been in this game for 18 years. I am not scared about the public. I am going to give 100%. I am going to be sharp. I have taken nine months layoff to hone my skills. I am going to be well-prepared.
[On the common opponent in Hopkins] Sergey had a great fight against Bernard. In my mind I won both fights against Hopkins. Earlier in my career I defeated Darnell Boone. I whooped him and it took Kovalev two fights to defeat him. He has been dropped twice but I have never been knocked down in my career. That is why I am calling for an epic night on March 14.
[On Sergey’s fight with Hopkins] Kovalev did a great job against Hopkins. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has flaws. He showed that he can go 12 rounds. He is a great boxer. I am a man that loves challenges and Kovalev is a great challenge for me.
[On Adonis Stevenson] Right now I am focusing on Sergey Kovalev. He is my opponent.
[On Lucian Bute fight] Before the Hopkins fight everyone thought Sergey was only a power puncher. We know now that he can box. We know that I can bang as well. That is why this is a terrific fight. Kovalev is a power puncher and I have never been knocked down in my life.
[On achieving greatness] Definitely in my country after this fight I will be recognized as the best ever in Canada. Every fight that I lost was a close fight, even though in my mind I won those fights. After March 14, I will be the best ever in my country and then I will go after the world.
John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev
[On Sergey’s preparation] Every fight is different. Preparation is always different. Certain things we are doing will prepare us for Jean Pascal.
[On Pascal] You can take Pascal lightly. Sergey prepares for every fighter differently. All the belts are important to Sergey. Pascal is a very good fighter. He has good power. We can’t take him lightly. We are looking at Pascal as a good fighter with good skills. Pascal’s style is different. He is not one-dimensional. He throws punches from different angles. He doesn’t have defense. He is herky-jerky. He is unconventional. Sergey has to dissect him slowly. Sergey needs to do what he does best. Sergey isn’t a one-punch fighter. He throws combinations and does everything well. Rocky was a movie. This isn’t a movie. This is a real life. He has to do it. We can’t take him lightly. We are training for the fighter that he is. Sergey is a tremendous fighter. His power is unreal. He has great boxing skills. I don’t try to get him to fight the way I fought. I want him to fight his way. His defense is great. There are a lot of skills he has that he hasn’t had to use yet. No one thought he could go 12 rounds and then he went 12 rounds against Hopkins. I don’t try to make them like me. I want them to determine for themselves what they are comfortable with. In order to be a good fighter you have to have a style that works for you. I just let Sergey do his things.
Marc Ramsey, Trainer to Jean Pascal
We do two weeks in Montreal, four weeks in Las Vegas and now we are in Big Bear. When you fight someone with the quality of Kovalev you need to step up your training camp. We have done that for this fight.
Greg Leon, CEO of Jean Pascal Promotions
[On what’s next for the winner] Nadjib Mohammedi has stepped aside to allow this fight to happen and he will be the [IBF’s] mandatory opponent for the winner.
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events
This is a terrific fight. Sergey always wants to test his skills against the best. He gets to do that on March 14. Jean Pascal is a warrior. We also have a terrific undercard.
Jean Bedard, President of Interbox
This will be an epic fight between two of the best fighters in the division. We can already feel the excitement in Canada. Jean Pascal is always ready for a challenge. The Russian will not give up his title easily, but Pascal is up for the challenge. This is going to be one of the most exciting cards I have seen in a long time. This promises to be a memorable evening in Canadian boxing history.
[About ticket sales] They are going very well. We started just before Christmas. We had a great day of sales yesterday and we are estimating about 12,000 fans. We are expecting good sales in the remaining three weeks before the fight. We look forward to a good turnout on March 14. We will see if we need a different configuration. The experience on TV is getting better and better. Sometimes people prefer to watch from home than open up the upper seats at the Bell Centre. We will have a very good crowd. It will depend on the next three weeks. We are very confident that it will be a very nice crowd on March 14.
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