Kovalev stops the unstoppable Pascal and sets up fight with Stevenson

By Paul Strauss - 03/15/2015 - Comments

(Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events) Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev stopped the unstoppable Jean Pascal, but not before Pascal gave him his toughest fight to date. Pascal’s hometown capacity crowd at the Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada were in shock when, in the eighth round, Referee Luis Pabon waived an end to Pascal valiant efforts to continue. Loyal Pascal fans were muted as they witnessed Kovalev’s powerful and efficient dispatch of their hero.

As loyal as they are to Pascal, they were obliged to respect Krusher. He had vanquished their champion. He did it by overcoming, overpowering and quashing all Pascal had to offer, which was considerable. His victory came with a price in the form of some bumps and bruises, but the Krusher proved yet again that he is a helluva fighter. Ringside analyst Bernard” Alien” Hopkins explained that Sergey continues to improve with each fight, adding “That’s scary!”

Archrival Adonis “Superman” Stevenson was ringside taking it all in. Hopkins shared with the HBO audience that Adonis whispered in his ear about a possible match between him and Kovalev. Apparently, he told Bernard the fight will be made. That will be a gigantic bout, rivaling even Pacquiao vs Mayweather. As much as fans hope for an exciting fight between the two welterweights, there’s strong possibility it could prove to be a stinker. The key to whether it lives up to the hype rests with Mayweather. He is fully capable of simply fighting to protect his “O” and doing just enough to try and steal rounds. Fans are forced to remember Pacquiao was unable to stop Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri and Timothy Bradley. How much more elusive can Mayweather be? The truth is he might be willing to take the criticism in order to stay undefeated. As distasteful as that possibility is, it’s nonetheless a real fear fans can’t dispel.

Kovalev vs Stevenson holds no such possibility. These two knockout artists guarantee only one will be standing when the referee signals fight’s over. The action between the opening bell and that simple gesture of finality should be something to behold. That night there will be more force exhibited in the ring than Darth Vader could muster up against Yoda. When it’s over, fans will be exhausted, regardless of whose hand is raised. Fans will feel they got their money’s worth, even if their guy didn’t win. That is the hoped for objective in all matches, but all too often one of the combatants decides to bolt, turning the dream into a nightmare. Fans are then left slack jawed, thinking……what the…!

Saturday night, Kovalev pulled off another workman like job. But, if you were his employer, you would feel his performance deserved a raise. He kept his head, gradually figuring out what Pascal was up to with his peculiar set of strengths. Early on Pascal seemed to momentarily get the upper hand when he countered Kovalev’s jab with his own right hand, forcing Sergey to retreat. Other times, he simply used his speed and athletic ability to land big, showy lefts and rights. Those same abilities allowed him to recover quickly when delivery of a power punch left him out of position. Kovalev cautiously probed and feinted, all the while pressuring his foe. More and more he nullified Pascal’s ability to land power punch right hands. When danger was suppressed, it enabled Sergey to continue throwing and landing his jab, which of course opened things up for combinations.

Kovalev, like all great fighters, has that daunting ability to catch opponents, who think they have moved sufficiently out of range to be safe. Usually the punch comes in the form of a straight left, which of course is a bit unusual for a fighter in the orthodox stance to use. The foot work has to be just right, placing the fighter in just the right position to gain leverage, and then “bam” it lands against the exposed chin of the opponent. To the opponent the punch comes as a surprise and shock, sucking the life out of his confidence. All of a sudden he starts questioning his ability.

Kovalev isn’t done yet. If that straight left lands, he downshifts and pops the clutch with a screeching short punch combination. That’s a small snippet of what this guy can do. He has a powerful left jab, not only to the head, but to the chest and gut. He doubles, and triples up on it, not only delivering punishment, but helping to prevent counters. His straight right, and right hook are lights out punches. Throw in a good left hook and the fact that he takes a good punch and you have a pretty impressive package. He just might be “Superman’s” kryptonite.