DSH Boxing Notebook: Freddie Roach talks smack about Mayweather, Kovalev crushes Pascal in thriller

March 20, 2015

Our latest version of The Daily Sports Herald's Weekly Boxing Notebook features some trash talk leading up to the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-bout, a recap of this past weekend's spectacular Kovalev-Pascal light heavyweight clash, and the latest news on welterweight champion Kell Brook's next fight. Take a look:

Trainer Freddie Roach gets in verbal jabs at Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Before the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout was officially announced, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach seemingly always had a comment ready about his pupil's potential foe, and now that the fight is only a few weeks away, Roach has continued his steady drumbeat of chatter.

Long known for his honest, matter-of-fact opinions, and for his accessible demeanor with the media, Roach seems to be a little more verbal than usual leading up to the big fight.

Perhaps he is trying to boost Manny Pacquiao's confidence, or maybe it's an attempt to get under Mayweather's skin in the hope of goading him into a brawl, but whatever the reason, Roach has certainly been entertaining.

His latest bit of trash talk concerned Mayweather's alleged hire of an expensive personal chef for his training camp at the rate of approximately $1000.00 per meal.

“I hope she knows how to make crow and soft foods palatable because after he faces Manny that is all Mayweather will be eating,” replied Roach when asked about the chef.  “I’ve read that Chef Q will be preparing meals high in protein which is perfect because Floyd is going to be eating a lot of ‘Leather a la Manny’ and it will be served piping hot.  Thousand dollar meals, give me a break.  Floyd is getting his just desserts on May 2.”

Sergey Kovalev defeats Jean Pascal in thrilling title bout

In an action-packed main event taking place in Jean Pascal's Montreal backyard, light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) withstood a determined challenge from Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) en route to an eighth round technical knockout win.

Both fighters traded some good shots early, but just before the end of the third round, Kovalev knocked Pascal down through the ropes.  Pascal was in serious trouble, but was saved by the bell, and that's when things became interesting.

Pascal, who likened himself to Rocky Balboa fighting Ivan Drago, slowly started to rally in a Rocky-like fashion during the middle rounds.

Pascal landed some big punches and caught the favored Kovalev off-guard with his unorthodox style.  At times, Pascal had his powerhouse Russian opponent briefly backing up after landing his looping flush shots.

Still, Kovalev's power, stiff left jab, and boxing skills eventually won out, as he hurt Pascal badly once again in Round Eight.  After Kovalev landed a big right to Pascal's chin, referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight and declared Kovalev the winner by TKO.

Pascal felt the stoppage was premature.

"Honestly, it was a good fight," said Pascal.  "It was an action fight for the fans. I tip my hat to Kovalev. He is a champion. I don't know why the referee stopped the fight. It was a great fight. I was in the fight from the first round. We should do it again. I should have a rematch. I am a crowd-pleaser. At Centre Bell I am always going to give the fans a great fight. I will be back."

For anyone still skeptical about Kovalev, his performance against Pascal should erase all doubt.  Pascal was extremely focused, displayed a tremendous chin and heart, and landed some powerful clean punches of his own -- and yet he still lost most of the rounds and endured tremendous punishment.

Quite simply, Kovalev is more than just a big puncher, but instead is a truly gifted boxer as well.  In this fight, he kept Pascal at bay with his long left jab, and also used his feet and ring generalship to maintain his preferred distance and to set up his power shots.

Nevertheless, the fight was so entertaining, a rematch would not be out of the question.  In fact, with the exception of a showdown with Adonis Stevenson, the boxing public would probably prefer that Kovalev's next fight be with Pascal.

Glazkov-Cunningham Recap

The Kovalev-Pascal undercard saw a fight for the #1 position in the IBF, as stablemates Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov (20-0-1, 12 KOs) and Steve "USS" Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) came out trading big punches. Cunningham appeared to have a slight edge early, but Glazkov showed signs of life in the fifth round. The judges officially scored the fight 116-112, 115-113, and 116-112, all in favor of Glazkov.

PunchStat had Glazkov landing a greater percentage of his shots but a smaller total number of shots (Glazkov 144/441 - 33%; Cunningham 180/649 - 28%).  Their jabs landed were almost identical (Glazkov 60/215 - 28%; Cunningham 57/309 - 18%), but Cunningham had the edge with the power punches landed. Their power punch percentages were near even (Glazkov 84/226 - 37%; Cunningham 123-340 - 36%).

Mohammedi defeats Campbell, could face Kovalev next

Nadjib Mohammedi (38-3, 23 KOs) of France, the #1 contender in the IBF light heavyweight rankings, defeated Lee Junior Campbell (8-2, 4 KOs) in a dominant performance causing the referee to stop the fight in the sixth round.

As the IBF mandatory contender, he is scheduled to face Sergey Kovalev in his next fight.

According to PunchStat, Nadjib landed more total punches than Campbell threw (Mohammedi 243/672 - 36%; Campbell 40/196 - 20%). The same was also true for jabs (Mohammedi 91/321 - 28%; Campbell 11/74 - 15%) and power punches (Mohammedi 152/351 - 43%; Campbell 29/122 - 24%).

After the fight, Mohammedi said, "I am very happy because this was a great place for a fight. This was my first fight with my new trainer, Abel Sanchez. Tonight I take my time. Campbell was tired and I worked to wear him down. This was a good win tonight. I was smart tonight. Everybody got to see me. Now Canada knows Nadjib Mohammedi."

In other weekend bouts, light welterweight Yves Ulysse Junior (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Barbados' Miguel Antoine (17-2-1, 9 KOs).  Junior knocked down his Bajan opponent three times in the fourth round before the referee eventually stopped the fight in Round Six.

Kell Brook to defend belt against Jo Jo Dan on March 28

Showtime will present the Sky Sports telecast of the IBF Welterweight World Championship between defending champion Kell Brook and No. 1 challenger Jo Jo Dan on Saturday, March 28, from Sheffield, England.

The event is also Brook’s comeback fight after getting stabbed while on vacation last September.

“After everything that’s happened over the last six months, it feels incredible knowing I will be defending my World title in Sheffield,” said Brook. “I’m not looking past JoJo I know he will bring the heat but I want to get this mandatory defence done and then target those mega-fights that are out there in the division. I know he feels he worked so hard to get into the mandatory position just like I did, but I will be working twice as hard to keep the belt that I earned. After May 2nd, there will only be two champions in the division—myself and Floyd or Manny. I want to unify this division in style. I'm coming for them all.”

Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) of Sheffield, England, will be making his first start and initial defense of the 147-pound title he took from previously undefeated Shawn Porter via a 12-round majority decision last August 16 in Carson, California.  In an impressive performance in his long-awaited shot at a world championship, Brook, 28, won clearly on two of the scorecards (117-111, 116-112), while the third judge had it even (114-114).

“March 28 will be an emotional night for Kell and the team. I remember being by his bedside in September in a Spanish hospital after that horrific knife attack, it looked like his career was over," said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sports.  “He has shown incredible physical and mental strength and looks better than ever in camp.”

Dan (34-2, 18 KOs), of Quebec, has won five in a row and eight of his last nine. The 33-year-old earned the crack at the crown with a 12-round split decision over Kevin Bizier in an elimination bout

“Kell has not fought anyone like me,” Dan said.  “I believe in myself and I don't think he can bring anything I can't deal with on fight night. I saw his last fight where he won the world title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy. I have waited a long time to get a world title shot so I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity.  My prediction for the fight is simple –Jo Jo Dan becomes the new IBF Welterweight World champion.”

A native of Romania, the crowd-pleasing Dan, whose full name is Ionut Dan Ion, has lived and trained in Montreal since his pro debut in April 2004.  The only blemishes on the southpaw’s record are a pair of close, controversial decision losses to then-undefeated contender Selcuk Aydin –the first in 2010 and the second in 2011– both in Aydin’s native Turkey.

Later that evening, WBC Featherweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs) will defend his 126-pound belt against quick-fisted southpaw Gary Russell Jr. (25-1, 14 KOs).

In the co-feature, undefeated contender Jermell Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs) faces veteran 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, California, in a 10-round super welterweight showdown.

Golden Boy announces new LA Fight Club card

Golden Boy Promotions has announced that East LA native Julian Ramirez (13-0, 8 KOs) will face Raul Hidalgo (23-12, 17 KOs) of Mexico in a 10-round featherweight bout headlining the next LA Fight Club event live from The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles on April 2.  The card will be televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes.

"LA FIGHT CLUB was developed as the platform for up-and-coming fighters on the West Coast to display their talents, and Julian Ramirez is exactly the kind of exciting prospect that fans will see month in and month out at The Belasco Theater," said Golden Boy Promotions Founder and President Oscar De La Hoya.

Ramirez has boxing in his blood. His late uncle was former WBA and WBC Super Featherweight World Champion Genaro "El Chicanito" Hernandez.

Hidalgo recently scored a third round knockout victory over Jorge Luis Babuca on December.

In the co-main event, Joet Gonzalez (8-0, 3 KOs), who recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions, will be featured in a six-round featherweight bout. \

Gonzalez recently faced Jaime Gutierrez and David Clark, quickly defeating both fighters via technical knockout before the fourth round.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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