In the much-anticipated main event of the evening, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs)* and Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) pleased fans with an action-packed battle. Both fighters started by trading some good shots, but Kovalev started to throw some nasty combinations in the third round to take the wind out of the hostile crowd at the Centre Bell in Montreal. Just before the end of the third round, Kovalev knocked Pascal through the ropes but Pascal was saved by the bell. Sergey came out swinging in the fourth to try to capitalize on the near KO, but Pascal managed to stay on his feet and land a huge right to show Kovalev he was still in the fight. As the bell rang to end the fourth round, both men were still trading big shots.
The fifth round began quietly, but Pascal started to throw some intense combinations in the middle of the round. Kovalev continued to be the aggressor, however, landing some big shots of his own. The crowd at Centre Bell was deafening with cheers for Pascal and boos for Kovalev. Finally, in the eighth round, Sergey came on with a brutal attack that resulted in his own slip. While Sergey was getting up, Pascal looked noticeably rattled at the ropes. The two traded a couple more shots before referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight and declared Kovalev the winner by TKO in the eighth round.
After the fight, Kovalev insisted he will be ready for anything next. He said, “Thank you so much. How it started I didn’t like. After fourth round I gained control. He was mine after that. He got me a couple good punches. It is boxing. [On a potential fight with Stevenson] I am ready for anything. [On the possibility of a rematch] I am ready for any fights. If my promoter says I fight Jean Pascal again, I will fight him.”
Pascal felt the stoppage was premature, but said this after the fight, “Honestly, it was a good fight. It was an action fight for the fans. I tip my hat to Kovalev. He is a champion. I don’t know why the referee stopped the fight. It was a great fight. I was in the fight from the first round. We should do it again. I should have a rematch. I am a crowd-pleaser. At Centre Bell I am always going to give the fans a great fight. I will be back.”
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