By Tom Donelson (BWAA) Boxing Writers Association of America
Sergey Kolalev faced Jean Pascal in Pascal’s backyard, Montreal, for all of Kolalev light heavyweight belts.
Kolalev was coming off a big victory over Bernard Hopkins and now he was facing the awkward fighter, Pascal. Kolalev started to find the distance in the second round with big rights and forcing Pascal to retreat. Kolalev continued to pressure in the third round but Pascal started to land big rights but with a minute left, Kolalev landed a big left hook that forced Pascal back to the rope to stop Pascal’s rally. Kolalev landed another big left hook followed by a big right that sent Pascal almost through the rope, forcing the referee to issue an eight count and Pascal was saved only by the bell.
Kolalev started hard at the beginning of fourth round as he trapped Pascal and pounded him. While Kolalev dominated the first part of the round but Pascal made a comeback down the stretch as he landed five big punches to send Kolalev reeling for the first time in the bout. Pascal continued to pound with counters in the fifth round that forced Kolalev to occasionally retreat as he did over the second half of the fourth round. Pascal continued to land off balanced shots throughout the sixth round and ended the round with a big left hook. HBO Lederman had the bout 58 to 55 at the halfway mark.
Kolalev went back to the jab and started to regain his momentum in the seventh round as he used his jab to reach Pascal and ended the round with left hook that sent Pascal staggering back to his corner. Kolalev went after Pascal at the beginning of eighth round and had Pascal staggered but Pascal and Kolalev got tangled up, sending Kolalev to the ground. Kolalev ended the fight with a big right hand at the corner that forced referee to stop the fight.
Kolalev showed that he is the best light heavyweight and now there is one big name left in the division, Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson told the HBO crew that he is ready to sign the fight as a unification for the title as the official bad ass in the division.
The first bout featured two Russians in a light heavyweight division that saw undefeated Vasily Lepikhin challenging Isaac Chilemba and over the first third of the fight, Chilemba outworked Lepikhn by throwing double the punches. After the halfway mark of the bout, Lepikhn’s corner threatened their fighter with cessation of the fight as he never seemed to get off. Throughout the seven round, Chilemba pounded his opponent as Lepikhin merely stayed on the rope and the crowd started to boo at the one sided affair. From this part, Lepikhin simply stopped fighting except with a punch or two thrown. It ceased to be a fight but resembled bag work for Chilemba. Chilemba won an easy decision and landed nearly three times as many punches and it is hard to say what was learned for Chilemba.
Steve Cunningham faced undefeated heavyweight Vvacheslav Glakov. Cunningham was a top level cruiserweight but at 38, he fights for one shot for glory as a heavyweight but he had already lost two fight as a heavyweight to Tyson Fury and Tomasz Adamek.
For the first three rounds, Cunningham outworked Glakov as he outboxed the younger Glakov even though occasion, Glakov trapped Cunningham. At the halfway through the bout, HBO Harold Lederman had the fight 5 rounds to one in Cunningham’s favor.
Through the seventh and eighth round, Glakov picked up the pace and may have picked up a round or two in attempt to close the scoriing. In the ninth round, Cunningham nailed Glakov with couple of big body shots and an uppercut removed Glakov’s mouthpiece.
Throughout the eleventh round, Glakov nailed Cunningham with two solid rights before Cunningham countered with a left hook. While Glakov appeared to be landing the harder punches in the round, he also spit out his mouthpiece to garner a quick break. Glakov nailed Cunningham with solid rights at the beginning of twelfth round whereas Cunningham managed to land solid body shots. Going down the stretch, both men looked exhausted and no real big blows were landed over the final minute. HBO Lederman had the bout 7 rounds to 5 for Cunningham. Cunningham connected on more punches and threw more but Compubox did have Glakov slightly more accurate. Glakov won the decision 116-112, 115-113, 115,113 in a fight that Cunningham had at least won six rounds. No way did Cunningham win just four rounds. While Glakov did win the later rounds, he lost the earlier rounds. You could make a case for a draw but not eight rounds to four in Glakov’s favor.