Tomorrow night from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal will duke it out for a second time, in what is being labeled by many as “The Rematch That Nobody Asked For.” However, the first fight produced fireworks, and the rematch should as well. Here is a full preview of the fight.
Tale of the Tape
Sergey Kovalev Jean Pascal
28-0-1 (25 KOs) Record 33-3-1, (17 KOs)
6’0 Height 5’10 ½
72 ½ Reach 72’
174 ¾ Weight 174 ¼
32 Age 33
Russia Country Canada
Headlines Leading up to the Fight
As stated earlier, not a whole lot of fans were begging for this rematch to take place after the first fight was fairly one-sided throughout. Jean did have some moments in the mid rounds, but never really got Sergey out of his comfort zone. Pascal eventually was stopped in the eighth round after sustaining far too much punishment.
Also, in the fight Pascal took between his two Kovalev duels, he fought to a 96-94 victory on all three cards in a highly controversial decision in a fight that many thought he lost against Yuneski Gonzalez. This has caused many to believe that Pascal is far from top form and may be in for an even worse beating.
Pascal, however, exercised his rematch clause and will now be facing the Krusher for the second time in less than a year, and will attempt to silence the doubters who believe he will get stopped even sooner in the rematch.
Jean Pascal always seems to be ruffling the feathers of his opponents, and now he has angered a trainer. Jean Pascal at the final press conference found it funny to pass out bananas to both teams, poking fun at Sergey Kovalev who one time on Twitter called Adonis Stevenson a monkey, forcing some to brand him as a racist, an unfair accusation.
The trainer of Sergey Kovalev John David Jackson did not find this stunt by Pascal amusing, as things got heated between Pascal and Jackson, with Jean telling JDJ to “stand up for black people” due to him training a “racist” fighter.
It is difficult to tell where Pascal is trying to go with his whole “calling Kovalev a racist” act, but the best guess is that he is just trying to help promote the fight, especially since Sergey has never been much of a talker.
Sergey was very sinister while talking about Jean leading up to this fight. Kovalev was pretty blunt about his feelings about the Canadian light heavyweight, simply stating at one point “I hate him.”
The Krusher has also gone on about not just stopping Pascal in this fight, but stopping the career of Pascal. The rematch may not be warranted, but you could not tell from listening to Sergey and Jean, that they both share a true hatred of each other, which always makes for more exciting fights for the fans.
Keys to the Fight for Sergey Kovalev
Follow Blueprint of the early rounds in his first meeting with Pascal: The Russian champ executed a near perfect game plan in his first meeting with Pascal last March, knocking him down and through the ropes in the 3rd and nearly stopping him in the 4th round. However, Pascal weathered the storm, and actually came back to have a few Rocky moments himself.
Sergey needs to remember how cool, calm and collected he was during the first few rounds of the first fight. Pascal was getting completely outclassed and dominated, but Sergey opened up the door for him by being a bit too over aggressive. Kovalev needs to stick to his game plan of being the technically sound boxer that he is, as he needs to trust that one of his power shots will get Pascal out of there sooner rather than later.
Jab to the body: In the first fight, Kovalev was using his jab to the midsection of Pascal at will, which broke Jean down and basically took his legs from him after he got knocked down. Jabbing Pascal early and often to the body will once again be a major factor in this fight. No matter how much Jean may move around the ring and display superb head movement, his body is almost always there to be hit, and Sergey will most likely exploit that early on.
Let Pascal come forward and exchange: Jean Pascal has always been known as a rather low output fighter who isn’t necessarily the biggest power puncher, thus Sergey should be content to get in a firefight with Jean if he is courageous enough.
It would be hard to believe that Jean would be willing to test his chin early on in this fight, but if he is Sergey must oblige by not throwing many punches and slipping some of Pascal’s helicopter like punches. This should be an effective strategy for the Russian Krusher because before he knows it, Jean will be right in front of him, hands down, standing straight up, waiting for a straight right hand to land flush.
Keys to the Fight for Jean Pascal
DO NOT GET IN A FIREFIGHT WITH THE KRUSHER: The caps locks were needed because Pascal needs to know that he cannot exchange with Kovalev often. Pascal has only scored two knockouts in his last 10 fights, as he has lost some of the pop he used to possess at 168.
Pascal would be wise to use his feet a lot in the opening rounds of the fight, as the right hand he took in round three of the first fight had him dazed and confused well into the fourth, and you can’t always count on your body to recover from a detonating shot like that.
Keep hands held high, not at waist: Pascal’s defense is leaky to say the least, but against Kovalev in the first meeting, it was nonexistent at times. When Kovalev landed his first big punch of the night, a straight left hand that was preceded by a straight right hand that missed, Pascal’s hands were down at his belt, a recipe for disaster against any boxer who can punch.
Pascal’s biggest influence is Roy Jones Jr, but he needs to stop using his extremely flawed and vulnerable defensive strategy because only a special athlete like Roy in his prime can get away with such bad defensive fundamentals. Pascal is a gifted athlete but he is not in his prime and not on the same skill level as RJJ.
Jean needs to keep his hands high enough where he has time to block and catch some of Sergey’s massive bombs. Pascal’s new pairing with Freddie Roach may not prove helpful to this either, as Freddie is an outstanding trainer, but has never been known to be a defensive guru and usually trains aggressive offensive fighters.
Attack the body: Something Pascal has not done enough lately is attack the body, which could be the Krusher’s kryptonite. Pascal should attempt to dig into the body while he is either on the inside or in clinches with the Russian, as all the significant shots Pascal landed in his first meeting with Kovalev were mostly head shots.
Kovalev’s chin may have some iron lodged in it, but his body isn’t exactly in ripped physique, so maybe Pascal can expose a possible weakness of Kovalev. Will he? Probably not, but he better do something in this rematch to gain Kovalev’s respect.
Wow, this may be a whitewash. After watching the first fight again before I wrote this preview, something stuck out to me: Pascal fought his best fight by just getting to the eighth round. He was lucky to not be stopped within four, so why should it be any different this time.
I predict that Sergey will come out boxing and not throwing a high volume of punches while Jean will look to land a series of crazy home run shots that will all most likely miss wildly. Once Jean tries to open up and land some of those looping shots, Sergey will catch him and ultimately finish him rather quickly as he does to almost all of the challengers that have come before him. However, it would be foolish of us to call Pascal done and to count him out of this fight, and don’t be surprised if we get an eerily similar fight to the first, with Sergey winning most of the fight, but Jean having his moments. Sergey TKO4.