Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev retained his IBF, WBO and WBA titles by bludgeoning former champion Jean Pascal into submission at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada Saturday night.
The end came when trainer Freddie Roach informed Pascal after round seven that he was calling it a night.
Unlike his first go-around with Kovalev at the same arena ten months ago, which was stopped in round eight, Pascal didn’t complain.
Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) floored Pascal (30-4-1, 17 KOs) halfway through the opening stanza, but it was incorrectly ruled a slip. No matter. Kovalev’s jab stunned Pascal throughout the fight--setting up his powerful punches.
Pascal, a Haitian native who proudly fights out of Montreal, looked to counter, but Kovalev switched his attack to the body while keeping his eyes on Pascal’s chin. Pascal did get Kovalev’s attention with a snappy hook near the end if the round.
Kovalev began to step into his punches in round two. His shots were hard and accurate. Pascal landed a nice left hook. Kovalev connected with a chopping right hand.
In rounds three and four, Kovalev continued to breakdown Pascal. He clubbing shots to the body were causing Pascal some serious trouble. The former champion fought back--landing a straight left. Kovalev stalked and fired. His work rate was steady. He unloaded a combination that knocked Pascal back a step.
A huge right hand staggered Pascal in round five. Kovalev strafed Pascal with thudding blows. The hometown hero wasn’t moving much. He was basically a sitting duck. Kovalev took advantage with stinging blows to the head and body.
Kovalev took his time in round six. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Pascal was being systematically pounded, but he wouldn’t quit. His beard is sturdy, but the blows he was absorbing had to hurt.
Roach wanted to stop the match after round six concluded. Pascal begged him for three more minutes. Roach acquiesced--but not for long. Kovalev worked over Pascal in round seven. Pascal tried to fight back, but the power of Kovalev was to much. Roach stopped the bout a minute later.
“I don’t like rematches," said Kovalev in the ring. "Pascal is not a nice person. I wanted to fight more rounds and make more pain. I don’t respect him."
Kovalev will likely face undefeated Andre Ward in a highly anticipated match-up in November.