Perhaps if it was up to him, nearly unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev would have stretched the rematch between him and former champion Jean Pascal this weekend on HBO to the twelfth and final round. It is no secret there is no love lost between these two men and that was apparent in the coverage leading up to their fight from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Much to Kovalev’s chagrin, his punishment of Pascal was only into the seventh round when Freddie Roach, Pascal’s newest trainer, decided to pull the plug. With win Kovalev retained his IBF, WBA and WBO 175-pound titles and reiterated his supremacy over Pascal who he stopped back in March of last year in their first fight.
The win was also the twenty-ninth of his career and third straight before the distance. Before that he went on a nine knockout win streak until he faced Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014 and is the last man to go the distance against the “Krusher”. If everything goes according to Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva’s plans, Sergey should be putting together a 2016 that not only will possibly win him fighter of the year honors but just might put him on the top perch of any pound for pound lists.
It can be surmised this fight against Pascal was a bit of a stay busy fight. The only thing Pascal did in the first fight was land some good right hands that might have made Kovalev a bit leery in the second as well as adding the legendary Freddie Roach to his camp but that was not enough to actually deem the rematch a needed fight. Still, the championship fight opened up the 2016 season for the biggest platform in the sport, HBO.
We are hopeful a fight against Adonis Stevenson can still be made for June of this year. The fight has floundered for a couple of years but since December it has gotten a second win when Kovalev and Stevenson ran into each other at the DeGale-Bute match up in Canada. There they agreed, at least verbally, to face each other in June. Duva and Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel have been emailing each other with numerous starts and stops. Officially they are on a stop right now in the negotiations but Stevenson looked pretty adamant in making the fight after Kovalev-Pascal II in the post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman.
Things got heated.
If Kovalev vs Stevenson is not made, then Kovalev will fight in Russia in the summer against an opponent to be determined. It is not expected to be anybody dangerous. In November according to HBO, Kovalev will face Andre Ward in the light heavyweight division. Andre Ward is set to face Sullivan Barrera, who is trained by Abel Sanchez, in March. With a win over the still undefeated Ward, Kovalev would quite possibly cement himself as the best light heavyweight of all time and that is something to say since the division has seen the likes of Archie Moore, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr among many others.