Does Jean Pascal have any chance to beat Sergey Kovalev?
by Hector Franco
Jean Pascal going into this Saturday night’s HBO bout will be a huge underdog against Sergey Kovalev. Kovalev already has a stoppage victory over him in a fight where Pascal won two rounds at most. Pascal is outgunned in most departments in this match up from punching power to technique and skill. For Pascal to have any chance of winning a bout with Kovalev he will need to garner the same energy he used when he faced Chad Dawson in 2010.
At the time he faced Dawson, "Bad" Chad was considered the best light heavyweight in the world. Pascal was a huge underdog coming into the bout with Chad Dawson who himself had just come off two back-to-back victories over Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. The bout took place in Montreal where the crowd was completely behind their man in Pascal.
Pascal used an ambush style of fighting which gave Dawson fits throughout the bout and while Dawson was clearly the more skilled and technical fighter of the two, he was also low volume which would end hurting him later in the fight. Pascal used in and out movement to land single and combination power punches all night long. By the tenth round, it was clear that Dawson had fallen so far behind on the scorecards that he would need a knockout to win the bout. Pascal kept landing power punches, but in the tenth round he seemed to tire. Dawson finally pressed the initiative and landed hard combinations on Pascal. Fortunately for Pascal, during this surge Dawson had suffered a massive cut and the bout was stopped in the 11th round. The fight went to the scorecards where Pascal was given a technical decision victory due to an accidental headbutt.
Kovalev is a completely different animal than Dawson, but for Pascal to stand a chance of victory he cannot stand and trade with Kovalev. He will need to use the same in and out ambush style that he used against Dawson to try and offset some of Kovalev’s advantages. There have been bigger upsets in the past in boxing. If Pascal were able to pull off an upset against Kovalev it would shake up the light heavyweight division. With the recent news of Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera agreeing on a showdown in March of this year. Things could get very interesting.