Champ Kovalev And Pascal In Montreal Match-Up
Russian Krusher seeks 24th KO
Even though it’s called the ‘fight’ game it’s surprising how much skill and time some ‘fighters’ dedicate to avoiding opponents.
Well, tonight’s light-heavyweight championship fight in Montreal between Sergei “Krusher” Kovalev and Jean-Thenistor Pascal features two guys who have made a point of avoiding no-one.
At 32, the one year younger and unbeaten Kovalev holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles and insists he will stop at nothing to get the whole set.
The Haitian-born Canadian Pascal is the slight underdog with one of his two losses against all-time great Bernard Hopkins: the LA-based Russian comprehensively beat Hopkins – though he fought the 49-year-old version while Pascal had faced the “Bodysnatcher” four years earlier.
This is a simple fight to weigh up: Kovalev’s power and against Pascal’s trickiness and durability.
Pascal makes much of the fact that he has never been on the canvas unlike Kovalev – the Russian briefly paying for a moment's inattention in the opening round against Aussie Blake Caparello late last year.
Given the choice again, Caparello may have pulled the punch that briefly floored the off-balance champ: it seemed to be the wake-up call the Russian needed; he finished the fight a round later.
Despite the cartoonishly alliterated nickname, the devastating might “Krusher” carries in either fist is far from funny – as the 23 men he has stopped (out of 27 fought) would doubtless attest.
In The Ring
's regular “Fight Picks” section, 17 out of 18 boxers asked last week picked Kovalev to win by KO.
Light-heavy contender Eleider Alvarez was the only one to pick Pascal, claiming that the Haitian-Canadian’s ability will frustrate the Russian’s greater strength.
One thing in Pascal’s favour for sure will be his jazzed hometown Montreal crowd.
In the minus column: Pascal has fought only five times since 2010 to Kovalev's 15 .
That number reflects the champ's indifference to who he fights or where he fights them as he closes in on owning the light-heavy class.
This relentlessness is one of the reasons I believe Kovalev will be one of the two men standing – the referee being the other - at the end of tonight’s fight..
The Russian’s prime-time-pleasing power overshadows the fact that he is also very highly skilled.
Yes, he can get enraged - though the impressive physical specimen who flipped his opponent the bird during this morning’s weigh-in seemed to do so almost mechanically, as if doing his bit for the pre-fight sizzle.
It will be a cold, calculating and clinical champion who enters the ring at the Bell Centre
at 9.45pm ET tonight (HBO
Written by Stan Wenners
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