March 14, Bell Center, Montreal, Quebec
By Peter Lim
As intriguing and competitive as this bout might appear, Kovalev will become the first man to stop the sturdy-chinned Pascal in a relatively one-sided bout. Granted, Pascal had the punch to drop Hopkins twice in their first encounter, and the whiskers to absorb the formidable artillery of Froch and Bute, but the cold-blooded and calculating Russian assassin is simply half a notch or two more proficient than the tough Canadian pugilist in most areas of the game – offense, defense, firepower and adaptability. The one intangible here is Kovalev’s chin, which has never seriously been tested.
The stoppage was way premature considering how Pascal came back from his near-death experience in the third round and was rocking Kovalev with counters while seemingly out on his feet.