Jean Pascal vs Sergey Kovalev II & Karim Mayfield vs Dmitry Mikhaylenko
BY KID HERSH
HBO Boxing after dark card from the Bell Centre in Montreal. First up was Dmitry Mikhaylenko (20-0, 9ko's) vs Karim Mayfield (19-2-1, 11ko's). Mayfield has been on the shelf for a while but took the fight on short notice, claiming that he has been in the gym but then on the other hand saying this is a very rare opportunity because he has not been receiving offers. Mayfield came out guns blazing but he was extremely sloppy and even fell over from throwing a wild hook while running at Mik. Mik was able to slow the pace and was pressing Mayfield before long in a tactful why, or "grinding rhythm" as Lampley called it. Mayfield was looking dejected as he was breathing through his mouth by the end of the round. In the second round Mayfield looked more off balance and rusty, like his legs were not responding properly to what his brain wanted to do. Also known as ring rust from being out of the ring for so long. Round three was turning into an ugly fight with Mayfield looking and acting like a very very rusty fighter that has nothing to offer anymore at this point already. Normally I wouldn't say that, but I watched this fight live and am tying to re-watch it but am finding it difficult because I already know that the fight continues in this manner for the remainder of it - nothing much new to see here for the remainder of the ten rounds. Nothing much changed, other than the fact that I thought Mayfield was not going to make the distance but he did due to the lack of power from Mik.
Main event time with quite the built up production, with Roy Jones Jr. Doing the rap entrance for Jean Pascal (30-3-1, 17ko's). Kovalev (28-0-1, 25ko's) had an entrance as well, but a more traditional one (Pascal's was terrible in my opinion). In the first round Kovalev was composed but already in control to my eyes right off the bat. He was studying Pascal and waiting on him to see his tactics but was already countering his shots and Pascal was not landing anything. Kovalev scored a knockdown that was ruled a slip two minutes into the round when Pascal stepped into a stiff jab and went down. Replays would show it was a knockdown, due to him going down from a punch, but if you watch closely there must be some sort of liquid on the canvas there because Kovalev goes over the same spot shortly afterwards and looks down at the mat, with a look like he is questioning what is down there. In the second round Pascal landed some athletic (fast) left hooks that Sergey did not see coming but he also ate them like tic tacs while Kovalev continued boxing him and landing jabs that were setting up right hands and other combinations, which he was being conservative with still. In the third round Pascal looked noticeably upset by punches - having been stunned by some hard shots in the previous round and now again in this one. Kovalev also is going to the body very effectively and has taken Pascal's legs out with that body work just as much as the head shots that are stunning him. In the fifth round the fight looked like it was going to be over a couple of different times, but as Hopkins pointed out (commentating) he thinks that Kovalev is punishing his man for calling him a racist before the fight. Right when it looked like the fight could be stopped or Kovalev could easily take Pascal out he would either not throw or give Pascal an out. Pascal only landed one punch in the round - a jab. Roach was thinking about ending the fight before the sixth but he let Pascal go back out after Pascal begged him to continue. The same thing happened before the seventh round, when it became pretty clear ini the sixth that Kovalev is carrying his man after having him stuck on the ropes or in the corner and landing a combination of powerful shots - having him a sitting duck - but backing away and letting him out of the corner. Roach let him continue, apprehensively, telling the doctor that if he gets caught on the ropes to stop the fight. Nonetheless Kovalev carried him to the end of the round just like the previous ones and then the fight was stopped before the eighth round came underway. In the post fight interview Kovalev admitted that he wanted to prolong the punishment to Pascal, proving that the rivalry and bad blood was not only there but that Kovalev isn't afraid to speak his mind any place, anywhere, any time! Kind of refreshing to see that in today's PC world.