Last night, one of the most entertaining displays of boxing this year took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. With the unified WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight championships on the line, this mega bout between champion Sergey Kovalev and challenger Jean Pascal, which was broadcast on HBO, did not disappoint.
Kovalev was given the victory by technical knockout in the eighth round when the referee Luis Pabon stepped in and stopped the fight.
You can either say that the ref was overzealous and cost Pascal the fight or that he did well in stopping the bout because Pascal was taking too much of a beating.
However you decide to look at it, the fact remains that it's still a very controversial finish considering that Pascal had been winning the last three rounds and was gaining momentum.
Kovalev, who is easily considered one of the best in the light heavyweight division, came into this fight with an impressive record of 26-0-1 while Pascal had an equally impressive record of 29-2-1 with defeats only to Carl Froch and Bernard Hopkins.
In retrospect, Kovalev came into this fight with very high expectations. "Krusher" as Kovalev is known, had knocked out nearly every opponent who stepped into the ring with him since his professional debut.
Before taking on Pascal, the Russian fighter had a convincing victory in Atlantic City against future Hall-of-Fame fighter Hopkins. In 2014, Kovalev received Fighter of the Year honors from various media outlets and the WBO.
While very few analysts had believed that Pascal could pull off the upset against Kovalev, Pascal displayed a large amount of desire and determination in this bout.
This isn't surprising, considering that the Haitian-born fighter was always been competitive against all the opponents he has faced. Even his losses were very well fought and his recent victory against Lucian Bute proved that Pascal can hold his own in the ring against a technical fighter.
Next on the docket for Kovalev is either a rematch with Pascal or, more appealingly, an encounter with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, which would make an even better bout than the Pascal clash, considering the power both fighters would bring to the table.
Stevenson is a strong puncher and although he is not a threat technically, he is gifted with timing and tenacity. Either way, I hope we get to see an exciting opponent for Kovalev for his next fight.
The undercard contests on the bill proved to be quite boring on this night. The first snoozer featured light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba's long arms that out-worked and out-landed his slower opponent, Vasily Lepikhin, via unanimous decision to capture the vacant NABF title.
It was the most boring undercard I have ever witnessed. Another bout leading up to the main event, featuring heavyweights Steve Cunningham and Vyacheslav Glazkov, was equally lacklustre.
Both fighters looked tired and lacked any type of precision. I expected more from Cunningham, who is trained by future Hall-of-Famer Nazim Richardson. Cunningham's lack of quality cost him the fight as he lost by unanimous decision.