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WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol defeated Jean Pascal to defend his title, but the Canadian veteran still took Bivol the distance at the Hard Rock hotel and Casino in Atlantic city on Saturday (November 24).
Bivol was in control from the start, but as his work became monotonous over the course of 12 rounds the Russian failed to find a finish.
His right cross drove Pascal into the ropes as early as the first round. He kept the Canadian on the end of his jab and began to chip away at him with left hooks. With a big right hook in the third round Bivol knocked Pascal away. Jean simply leaned forward as he covered up trying to defend himself. But the Russian reached his body with a long right cross.
Pascal was clumsy, his balance poor. He swung his head to evade Bivol’s jab and swept himself off his feet as he missed with a left hook.
Bivol did look dangerous as he put combinations together, a right cross tearing through between Pascal’s gloves and heavy left hooks struck Jean’s body.
The Canadian’s unorthodox responses yielded little. He leapt at Bivol with a uppercut, missing. He even swung both fists at the same time into the Russian’s head. The efforts did little damage. Pascal knew he didn’t have the energy to sustain his workrate. He just let his hands go in bursts, hoping to pluck a knockout blow out of somewhere. To start the eighth round Pascal rushed after him, barrelling forward behind hooks. But as the attack petered out, Bivol struck back and hurt him, forcing Pascal to hold on in a clinch.
The Russian attacked at the start of the 10th round. Pascal sucked up the punishment. The spite gradually would leak out of Bivol’s jab but he remained quicker and sharper. Pascal sprang forward only for Bivol to catch him with a left hook. Pascal though finished defiant, gunning to land a meaningful punch in the last round and determinedly staying on his feet.
The scores were clear and unanimous, Bivol winning 117-11 and 119-109 twice.