The IBF, WBA and WBO World Light Heavyweight titles are on the line March 14th in Montreal as Sergey Kovalev takes on Jean Pascal. Right now at 5DIMES, Kovalev is a strong (-700) favorite to walk out of Pascal’s hometown with a win. Pascal is coming back at (+500), with the over/under on the scheduled twelve round bout sitting at 9 ½, with the over (+145) and the under at (-165). Pascal is (29-2-1) in his career and he is a former holder of the WBC World title at Light Heavyweight that is now held by another Canadian, Adonis Stevenson. The rhetoric about a Pascal-Stevenson showdown was high before Pascal signed on to take on Kovalev, and a meeting with Stevenson to unify the four major World titles will likely be next for the winner of this bout. Despite his status as a former world champion, Pascal is not getting any respect at the books for this one. Perhaps that is partly due to his last outing, back in December where he KO’d Roberto Bolonti while the referee was breaking them apart, and the fight was declared a no contest in the second round. The match with Bolonti was signed to get Pascal some ring time before getting into this fight, because prior to that he had not fought since January of 2014. In that fight, he earned a good win with a unanimous decision over Lucian Bute, but his rate of inactivity since losing his world title to Bernard Hopkins in May of 2011 is alarming for a fighter who is now 32 and spent some of his prime fighting just once a year. The Bolonti fight did nothing to help. Kovalev does not share that problem, as he fought three times in 2014, going (3-0) and getting heavy consideration for “Fighter of the Year” honors. His signature performance came in his last outing back in November when he defeated legendary Bernard Hopkins, dropping him in the opening round on his way to a lopsided (120-106, 120-107, 120-107) unanimous decision. That made Kovalev (26-0-1) as a professional, and after beating Hopkins, Kovalev has set his sights on uniting the major titles in the weight class. Pascal has never been knocked out, but that is what Kovalev will intend to do. He has twenty three stoppage wins in his twenty six wins but going the distance like he did with Hopkins is not something Kovalev wants to repeat. Pascal went the distance in his two losses, one against Brit Carl Froch while at Super Middleweight and the second against Hopkins. That Pascal fought 24 rounds with Hopkins only to be edged by the slightest of margins is an indication that he is a pretty good boxer. But he had the luxury of knowing Hopkins was not going to be able to hurt him, while Kovalev can bludgeon you. On the other side of the coin, Kovalev was able to take the starch out of Hopkins in the early going of their bout and he still could not get him the 50 year old Hopkins out of there. Perhaps in boxing, Pascal has a chance.
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