Fight Previews and Predictions: Sergey Kovalev versus Nadjib Mohammedi, & Jean Pascal versus Yunieski Gonzalez

July 24, 2015

Sergey Kovalev and Nadjib Mohammedi
Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Reporting from Las Vegas, Nevada -- This Saturday night Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev will take on mandatory challenger Nadjib "Irondjib" Mohammedi in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in a scheduled twelve round light heavyweight championship bout.

Also featured on this exciting card will be former 175-pound kingpin Jean Pascal, who was stopped for the first time in his career by Kovalev in March of this year, and now is attempting to work his way back into contention for a return bout with the heavy-handed Ukranian pugilist affectionately known as the Krusher.

Below is our preview for this pair of world-class level light heavyweight fights:

Pascal versus Gonzalez

For Pascal (29-3-1), this fight will speak volumes by letting fight fans know exactly how much the 32-year-old native of Laval, Quebec (by way of Port-au-Prince Haiti), has left in the tank.

Despite coming up on the wrong end of a brutally exciting slugfest with Kovalev in his home province of Quebec, Pascal has not opted for the easy route in his follow-up bout. Indeed, his assignment Saturday night could prove to be tougher than wanted -- or necessary -- as Pascal is matched up with rising Cuban prospect Yunieski Gonzalez.

While Pascal would certainly appear to have advantages in most, if not all, significant categories, the 30-year-old Gonzalez is a live dog. His wicked left hook is probably the most potent weapon in his arsenal, and he typically doubles up, as he willingly uses it frequently and works well on the inside.

Gonzalez has shown good power in his 16-fight, five-year pro career, as he has stopped 75% of his opponents inside the distance, while fighting in a go-for-broke, crowd-pleasing style. 

Pascal, meanwhile, is probably best known for his ultra-athletic, durable, and explosive style. As stated earlier, Pascal has advantages, most notably in experience, as he has been in with some of the best in the fight game throughout his pro career, which now has spanned ten years.

In addition to his clash with Kovalev in March of this year, Pascal has also fought and held his own against such notable fighters as Carl Froch, Chad Dawson, and the great graybeard himself, Bernard Hopkins (twice).

Pascal and Gonzalez
Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Still, this pairing should make for an interesting matchup.  Gonzalez is not the prototypical slick, cutesy-type Cuban fighter we often see emerge from that nation's legendary amateur program, as he instead prefers an aggressive, in-your-face attack from the outset of most of his bouts.

Unfortunately for Gonzalez, this strategy will likely play right into Pascal’s hands.

Prediction: The only kind of fighters that have really given Pascal problems have either been: 1) concrete-fisted killers, such as Kovalev; 2) crafty counterpunchers with unparalleled stamina and ring generalship who were not overwhelmed by Pascal's volume and athleticism (i.e. Hopkins); or 3) veterans who combine both power and counterpunching (the recently-retired Froch).

Since Gonzalez does not fit into any of those three difficult molds discussed above, it is likely that despite having his early moments and perhaps scoring a flash knockdown in the first few rounds, Gonzalez will be the one who tires later and fades as Pascal pours it on in the latter half of the fight.

Eventually Pascal overwhelms and stops his overmatched and less experienced opponent via a 9th round TKO.

Kovalev versus Mohammedi

In the headlining main event of the HBO Championship Boxing telecast, 175-pound kingpin Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1) will fight his mandatory #1 challenger, 30-year-old French fighter Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3). Fresh off his thrilling and decisive 5th round stoppage of the aforementioned Pascal, Kovalev is deservedly a prohibitive favorite.

Owner of one of the highest active knockout percentages in all of boxing (86%), Kovalev has an innate ability to absolutely devastate his opposition with either hand, making him a positively thrilling boxer to fight fans.

Although Kovalev's challenger is a virtual unknown to most mainstream American fight fans, Mohammedi does have the benefit of having Abel Sanchez in his corner for this fight. This is notable not only because Sanchez is the chief second for none other than middleweight champion Gennady "Triple G" Golovkin, but also because he previously trained Kovalev himself.

It is safe to assume that Mohammedi has benefited from working with Triple G as part of Sanchez’s camp in Big Bear, California, and that he also has picked up some useful words of wisdom in hoping to offset Kovalev’s deadly arsenal.

One would think that Mohammedi would try to use his decidedly awkward style to “muck it up,” frustrate, and keep the much heavier-handed Kovalev off balance in order to prevent him from landing his shots.

Under that gameplan, Mohammedi could take the fight into deep waters and then capitalize on his seemingly superior stamina (Mohammedi has gone more than 10 rounds 6 times as a professional, including 3 bouts that went the full 12-round championship distance), as Kovalev has gone the full 12 rounds only once when he defeated the ageless Hopkins.

Although that would certainly be the best case scenario imagined by the venerable Sanchez and the rest of Team Irondjib, it just isn’t likely.

Prediction: While the Frenchman of Algerian lineage may have his early moments, it is this writer's belief that not only will Kovalev overwhelm, continually clobber, and then concuss and knockout his opponent by Round 6 at the latest, but he also will comprehensively call out none other Andre "SOG" Ward himself in the postfight proceedings.

With a little luck, Saturday night could pave the way for a true SuperFight in the coming months. 

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...