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Kovalev Stops Pascal In Montreal Rumble

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Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) vs. Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs)

In the HBO light heavyweight main event, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev went into Jean Pascal’s Montreal backyard and scored an 8th round TKO over a very game and valiant challenger.

Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) had Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) all but knocked out in the 3rd round when the bell saved him. Almost miraculously, Pascal survived the 4th round and came back and hurt Kovalev in both the 5th and the 6th.

Stamina became an issue for the Canadian soon after and as his activity decreased, Kovalev took advantage. The Russian pressed his advantage in the 7th, landing at a high rate while Pascal was missing or simply not throwing. At the end of the round, Pascal staggered to his corner while Kovalev moved with sure feet to his.

In the final round, Kovlaev was battering Pascal all around the ring when a vicious succession of punches sent Pascal stumbling into the corner with his head thrown back. Pascal would have done well to go down or at least take a knee, but he caught a brief reprieve when Kovalev lost his footing going in for the knockout and fell onto his back.

Once Kovalev got up, he met Pascal back in the same corner where Pascal was left flagging. Two more right hands by Kovalev and referee Luis Pabon had seen enough and halted the fight.

All three judges held a 68-64 advantage for Kovalev through seven rounds. The final punch stats found Kovalev outlanding Pascal by a 122-68 margin.

On to the rounds!

Round One: Kovalev lands a straight right to Pascal’s midsection. Pascal moving away quite a bit. Kovalev, unsurprisingly, is coming forward. Kovalev forces Pascal up against the ropes. This could get rough. Pascal moves forward, but is wild. The hometown crowd cheers loudly, but Pascal lands nothing of interest. More wrestling going on than fighting, but Kovalev landed the few shots of significance.

Round Two: Straight right to the jaw of Pascal. Pascal lands a left hook, but not flush. Big right by Kovalev briefly wavers Pascal. Kovalev looks very confident now. Good jab by Kovalev to the cheek. Kovalev is clearly the more technical fighter. Pascal rushes in and lands a left upstairs. His awkwardness paid a dividend just then. Through two rounds Kovalev has landed nearly twice as many blows (27-14) and more than doubled the number thrown (107-49) of Pascal.

Round Three: Pascal lands a straight left after a partially blocked right hook. Hard body shot from Kovalev’s big right hand. Pascal takes it well and lands a right and a left hook that caught Kovalev a little off balance. Pascal has come to fight. Then just like that, Kovalev lands a huge left hook. Pascal may have needed the ropes to stay up. Pascal manages to land a body shot and looks steadier now. Kovalev really pressing now. Pascal is not fully recovered. Kovalev nearly knocks Pascal through the ropes with a huge straight right. My goodness he hits hard. That is the first official knockdown of Pascal’s career (Hopkins appeared to make his glove touch canvas twice in their second bout). The bell saves Pascal. He is hurt.

Round Four: Kovalev stalks forward and is throwing at will. Pascal’s legs are not moving well. Kovalev is coming hard now. Pascal has a chin. Pascal lands a hard counter right to Kovalev’s chin. Kovalev nods and keeps coming. Pascal is still unsteady. He is still wobbly. Pascal lands a very hard right hand. This is a man with heart. Kovalev weathers it though. The round closes with both men swinging freely. Great round for Kovalev overall, but Pascal showed serious mettle.

Round Five: Kovalev seemed surprised going to his corner that Pascal is still here. He’s not the only one. Kovalev’s punches thud through the TV screen. Even glancing blows look and sound heavy. Kovalev lands an overhand right, but Pascal was moving away from it. Pascal lands a decent left hook and comes forward. Pascal stings Kovalev with an awkward right and nearly doubles over Kovalev with a left to the body. Pascal punctuates the round with a left to the body and a grazing right to the chin. The crowd is going nuts. Pascal’s round.

Round Six: A straight right lands to the ear of Kovalev. Another big right to Pascal appears to wobble Kovalev. Big right hook by Kovalev. Pascal’s chin is granite. Kovalev is actually backing up. Both fighters trading shots. A very close round, but Pascal’s punches were more obvious to judges. Pascal looks more gassed going to the corner.

Round Seven: Kovalev gets tied up with Pascal and pushes him down and nearly through the ropes. Pascal looks tired. The fighters get tied up again with Kovalev doing most of the holding. Pascal moving forward again. Not a lot is landing for either man, although Kovalev is much more active. Pascal has earned the Krusher’s respect. Kovalev is boxing now. Kovalev’s jab is winning this round. A hard left hook staggers Pascal backwards at the end of the round. It’s possible Pascal is more tired than hurt. Either way, the fight is turning back to Kovalev.

Round Eight: Kovalev slips on the paint in the center of the ring awkwardly, but is fine. Kovalev lands a solid three punch combination and is strafing Pascal and nearly had Pascal knocked out when he slips a second time and falls backward. Kovalev gets back up and starts hammering Pascal in the corner. A brutal right lands to the Pascal’s ear and referee Luis Pabon steps in and stops the fight.

This was a tremendous fight that will serve the reputation of both fighters well. Kovalev has never been in the sort of trouble he found himself in during the 5th and 6th round. He was more than stung by Pascal, he was hurt, if only briefly. Some may argue the stoppage was premature—Pascal certainly did, but one more blow like the right hand that forced Pabon’s hand could have been dangerous to Pascal’s health.

This was a fight worthy of a rematch. Pascal’s fellow Canadian and WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson, was in the arena, and according to Bernard Hopkins, finally wants to get in the ring with Kovalev. Stevenson has taken tremendous heat for his perceived avoidance of Kovalev, but perhaps the vulnerability he saw in the Krusher tonight has emboldened his resolve.

As all fight fans know, that is a fight that should happen, and right soon.

Photo Credit : David Spagnolo/Main Events

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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