Saturday March 14th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the best light heavyweight in the world puts his titles on the line against Canada’s finest, Jean Pascal. And while Adonis Stevenson, the linear champion at 175 pounds, has his own upcoming defense against the shop-worn Sakio Bika, make no mistake – Saturday’s match in Montreal is for the real light heavyweight championship of the world.
For Haitian born Canadian Pascal, 29-2-1 (17KO), this bout marks his chance to get back to the top of the hill. The 5’10” stocky framed boxer-puncher briefly held the linear title in 2010 with a technical decision victory over Chad Dawson, only to lose it the following year against the ageless Bernard Hopkins. Pascal started his professional career in 2005 at super middleweight, moving up to 175 in 2009 for a shot at a vacant alphabet title. Although the Pascal has lost twice (Hopkins, Carl Froch), he has never been dominated and is almost impossible to look good against. This is important for Kovalev and his team to keep in mind; but then again, we were saying the same thing in November before the Russian’s fight with Hopkins.
Indeed that bout last November 8th at the Boardwalk Hall in New Jersey was a coming out party for the “Krusher”, but can he become the king of Montreal? The 6’0” Kovalev, undefeated as a pro with a record of 26-0-1 (23KO), will be fighting in Montreal for the first time Saturday night – although he has fought in the province of Quebec once before. In 2013 the Russian destroyed Ukrainian Ismayl Sillah over two rounds at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City. Now he returns to Canada with much more to fight for; as the unified champion and a proud father of a baby boy, Aleksandr, who his wife Natalia gave birth to last October.
Regarding the tale of the tape, these fighters size up well. Although Kovalev is slightly taller, both men have a similar reach (about 72”) and are only a year apart in age. The Russian has a much higher KO percentage, but the Canadian has undoubtedly faced the better opposition to this point. In terms of style, neither man has really faced another fighter like the one they will see tomorrow night, and that is what makes this fight so interesting. How will Kovalev react to Pascal’s unique “Roy Jones-esque” style? How will Pascal react to Kovalev’s power? We’ve seen the Krusher’s eyes cut in the past, could that become an issue in this fight? We’ve seen Pascal fade late in fights, could that become an issue in this fight? How may all of this affect the scoring of the bout, especially considering the location?
So many questions, so many possibilities, so many reasons to watch tomorrow night! Questions, comments, hate mail? You know what to do.