Grant Rants

Posts Tagged ‘Jean Pascal

Boxing round up: Mayweather romp, Pac-man is back and Bute’s hand

- May 8th, 2013

Greetings fight fans;

It’s been a busy few days in the world of boxing, so I’m here to catch you up.

Easy night for Mayweather

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Mayweather had an easy night beating the “Ghost” Guerrero.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., regarded by most as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world had an easy night Saturday against his highly religious opponent, aggressive southpaw Robert Guerrero. He walked to a 12 round decision without ever being in danger. I scored the bout 199-109 for Money May. I could have given him all 12 rounds, but I scored the 12th for Guerrero, mostly because he did not look as horrible as he did in the preceding 11. Some analysts scored the first couple of rounds for Guerrero, but to my eye while they were closer than most of the others, they were clearly Mayweather rounds.

Where Miguel Cotto was able to pressure Mayweather, keep a good jab in Mayweather’s face (which seems a critical factor in making a fight of it with Money) and was able to make the most of it when Mayweather retreated to the ropes, Guerrero really had nothing. No jab. No pressure. No game plan. He was hit by so many right hand leads (normally a dangerous punch because a fighter can see a right hand coming much easier than a jab, which is typically faster and nearer to the opponent) that Mayweather actually hurt his hand on Guerrero’s hard head.

At this point, short of resurgence Manny Pacquiao actually getting into the ring with Mayweather, it’s hard to see anyone having a shot at defeating Mayweather. All eyes are focused on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as Mayweather’s next real test, but as good as Canelo is (and he is) he seems tailor made for the  defensive genius of Mayweather.

Bute’s out

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Lucian Bute

In what would have been perhaps the biggest fight in Canadian history and very likely the biggest sporting event in Canada of 2013 (short of a Canadian team making it to the Stanley Cup finals) former super-middle weight champion Lucian Bute was to face former light-heavy weight champ Jean Pascal in Montreal. Both men were once among the best in the world until recently losses cost them their titles and neither man has challenged for a title since. The Canadian super fight, which was to be broadcast by HBO, would likely put the winner back into title contention while the other would probably fade to black. The stakes were as high as they get for professional fighters.

But Bute announced this week he hurt his hand in training and will need surgery. The fight will be rescheduled, although a new date has yet to be set.

The return of Pacman

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Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao’s first fight since his stunning KO loss to long time rival Juan Manuel Marquez is scheduled for November in China against American Brandon Rios, also a left handed slugger.

On the one hand it’s a risky fight for Pacman. Rios is a power hitter with no quit in him who likes to pressure fighters into submission. He’s young and hungry  and eager to come back after a recent loss to Mike Alvarado. On the other hand, come forward pressure fighters almost always get chewed up in the Pacquiao buzzsaw. Think Ricky Hatton, a skilled powerful brawler who was dispatched in brutal fashion in two short rounds.

A lot is being said about Pacman’s state of mind. Will he be gun-shy after JMM knocked him out? If Pacman is in top form (and lets not forget he was winning his fight against JMM and pretty well beating him up until he walked into a perfectly timed right hand counter from Marquez, arguably the best counter puncher in boxing) I don’t see the slower, less mobile Rios making it past 7 rounds. Rios is good but he is no Mayweather or Marquez.  Rios could not adapt to Alvarado’s more mobile style. It is hard to imagine how he will cope with the lightning feet and hands of Pacman.

Bute loses, Canadian boxing takes a punch

- May 28th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!

Lucian Bute, Canada’s last standing major boxing champion is a champ no longer. The 32-year-old formerly undefeated IBF super middle weight title holder was thrashed by British boxer and former champ Carl Froch Saturday night.

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Carl Froch (left) hammers away at Canadian Lucian Bute

It was a big gamble for Bute, who has primarily fought in his home province of Quebec or his native country of Romania. First, he was in Froch’s home town of Nottingham, and fighting in front of a home town crowd is a boost for any fighter. Second, he was fighting Carl Froch. The only knock against Bute’s run as an undefeated champ, including nine title defenses, was that he had been working hi way through the division’s B-list.  (He first “real” test as a champ came last year when he defended his belt against aging former champ and ring legend Glenn Johnson in Quebec City.)

It wasn’t entirely Bute’s fault. The network Showtime hosted the “super six” series, taking the top super middle weights in the world and putting them in a tournament to determine the king of the ring. Bute was oddly excluded and was unable to fight any of the men in the series, including Froch.

Nonetheless, Froch – who handily eliminated Johnson during the tournament, setting up the fight with Bute – was a step up in class. Froch has competed with the best super middle weights in the world and the pressure cooker of the series upped his already impressive game.

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Lucian Bute in his corner during his bout with Carl Froch

So really the fight with Froch was Bute’s most serious test to date. One he failed in spectacular fashion, with Froch battering Bute into submission. The fight was stopped in the fifth round.

It was an odd fight. Froch pressed, coming forward with a steady attack. Bute, a southpaw with a wrecking ball upper cut, slipped and dogged a lot of Froch’s punches. I haven’t seen the  punch count stats yet, but I would wager Froch actually missed more shots than he landed. Didn’t much matter though. Because while Bute was getting out of the way of most of Froch’s shots, he wasn’t firing back much himself. When he did it was a single straight left counter. Never effective combos. Afterward’s Froch said the few shots he was hit with confirmed what he had already suspected: Bute was a big puncher and under no circumstances did Froch want to get caught with a flurry.

Bute’s apparent strategy of slip, slip again and slip some more before throwing one punch did little to blunt Froch’s attack. Froch is a beast, and no one is going to blast him out of the ring with one punch. Without having to worry about incoming fire, Froch continued to press and throw heavy punches. And while, as I say, Bute slipped or blocked most of the shots coming at him, he didn’t stop them all. When Froch connected, it looked like Bute had just been smashed in the face with a wrecking ball. His head was snapping back with so much force I thought it might actually come off. He was staggered in round three, baddy hurt in round four where he barely made to the closing bell on his feet, and still on rubber pins, was overwhelmed in round five when the contest was stopped.

It was one of Froch’s best performances to date and easily one of Bute’s worst. Bute just seemed at a loss as to what to do.  And he was crushed as  result.

Bute was Canada’s only significant boxing champion. The only other big name in pro boxing in Canada was former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal, who has not fought since being defeated in his historic match up with Bernard Hopkins in Montreal last May.

Jean Pascal

Jean Pascal during his reign as world light heavy weight champ

Pascal is fighting in August for the IBF title against Tavoris Cloud, a boxer who while good isn’t in Pascal’s class, at least on paper.

Nonetheless, it was not that long ago that Quebec seemed like Vegas North when it came to boxing. Pascal and Bute were packing stadiums in Montreal and Quebec City, some of the best fights on the year were being fought in Canada. Now, both champs are dethroned and how big boxing will stay in Quebec, and so Canada, is a bit of a question mark.

Pascal may well become a champ again in August, but his real test will be in title defenses. His main rival will be “Bad” Chad Dawson, someone who he beat during his previous title reign. However, Dawson has since walked through Hopkins and looks better than ever. A rematch between the two champs would be a huge fight, but it is unlikely to happen in Quebec. Chances are Dawson will insist on an American venue and given that Pascal has been so inactive, it’s hard to see how he could force the bout to Montreal or Quebec City.

As for Bute, the question mark is even larger. The overwhelming nature of Froch’s win does make you wonder if the knock against Bute, that he only fought against lower-tier boxers, is true. When finally faced with someone of his own caliber, he was blown out. This is not to say that Bute is finished. He is 30 and 1 for a reason. It seems unlikely that he will retire. But whether he can come back to the top of the sport is unclear. He’ll have to be able to beat Froch, or the man who skillfully defeated the Brit to win the Super Six, American champion Andre Ward. No easy task. And above all, Bute cannot follow Pascal’s lead and stay out of the ring for more than a year. He needs to get back in there, probably overseas or in the US, and start carving out some victories and keep interest in him, and in boxing, alive.

Bute and Pascal could put Canada back on the boxing map, but for now, Canuck boxing has taken a body blow.

History made in Montreal – Hopkins boxing’s oldest champ

- May 26th, 2011

So while the followers of Harold Camping were busy waiting for the world to end, I was ring side in Montreal at the unbelievable Jean Pascal, 28, vs. Bernard243201_10150780490055001_719940000_18841377_7000591_o Hopkins,46, light heavy-weight title fight. Hopkins won and  and became the oldest man to ever win a legit boxing title.

I will tell you this: you NEVER really seen a big time sporting event until you see one in Montreal. You could argue with me, but you would be wrong.

If you did not catch my coverage from the fight, you can read it here:

Is Hopkins Past His BestBefore date?

Hopkins, Pascal, make weight Zewski knocks out Galvan

Dawson too quick for Diaconu

Hopkins becomes boxings oldest champ Boxing history made, so what now?

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my view from the press row in the Bell Centre

B-Hop deserved the win – quick thoughts on the fight.

- December 20th, 2010

It was, simply put, one of the most remarkable ring performances I have ever seen. Maybe the best this year, and 2010 has had some great fights: Manny Pacquiao’s total destruction of the bigger Antonio Margarito, Amir Khan’s gutsy win over the iron Marcos Maidana and over course Paul Williams kissing the canvas courtesy of Sergio Martinez. But seeing the 45-year-old Bernard Hopkins out class, out box, out think the 28-year-old Jean Pascal of Montreal in their light heavy-weight title fight was simply amazing.Bernard-Hopkins-007

The fight was judged a draw – mostly because of two knockdowns by Pascal in round 1 and round 3 – meaning Pascal kept his title. The Canadian won the first three rounds for sure. Maybe the fourth. MAYBE. After that, it was all Hopkins. I scored it 114-112 Hopkins. And if you watched the fight, you could see in the faces of Pascal and his corner. They lost the fight and they knew it.

Ok, so I its hard to argue with Stephen Brunt’s assessment here. The draw was not a robbery exactly. The knock downs (even though the first one is suspect. Hopkins was hit on the back of the head) gave Pascal some early points and its possible to give Pascal a closely fought 10th round, which results in a 1113-113 fight. Still, he was taken to school by pugilism’s genius professor.  He should have been given the win or failing that, an immediate rematch.

At the very least, it showed that boxing is not exactly the young man’s game that is often claimed. Some smarts and hard training can keep you going for a long time…good new for those of us on the dark side of 35!

Thoughts?