Roach: I will do anything to help Pascal win against Kovalev
(Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events) By Dan Ambrose: Former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (30-3-1, 17 KOs) is now being trained by the well-known Los Angeles, California trainer Freddie Roach for Pascal’s upcoming rematch against IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) for their fight on two months from now on January 30th, 2016 at the Bell Centre in Monreal, Canada.
Roach says he’s going to do whatever he can to help the 32-year-old Pascal win this fight. Pascal fell apart last March in losing to Kovalev by an 8th round knockout at the Bell Centre. The fight was televised by HBO Championship Boxing.
Just why there’s a rematch is the big question, because there was absolutely nothing controversial about the fight.
“I will do whatever I can to help Jean win the fight [against Kovalev],” Roach said via Dan Rafael.
Roach is a good trainer, but he’s not a miracle worker. He’s not going to be able to give Pascal a long drink from the fountain of youth. Even if Roach had the location of the fountain of youth for Pascal, it still wouldn’t help him. Pascal’s problem is more than just his advancing age. He just doesn’t have the size, power or chin to match up against guys like Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Yunieski Gonzalez and Artur Beterbiev. Those guys have got Pascal’s number in my view.
At this point, I don’t think Pascal could beat some of the other light heavyweights as well like Andrzek Fonfara, Sullivan Barrera, Eleider Alvarez and Juergen Braehmer. I would pick all of those guys to beat Pascal. It’s not because Pascal doesn’t have good talent and excellent hand speed that I see him as a lost cause. I think it’s just a variety of things that will hold him down for the remainder of his career.
These are things that are beyond Roach’s control as a trainer. He can only do so much with what he’s working with. If Roach doesn’t start out with an already super talented fighter then he’s useless to do much with them.
In the case of Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, Roach lucked out in that both guys were already very good fighters before he even started working with them. I still don’t think they were the best in their given divisions, but both were good enough to beat most of the fighters in their divisions. With Pascal, he has too many flaws that Roach can’t fix for him to beat a guy like Kovalev or some of the other top light heavyweights in the division.
To be sure, Kovalev took a few head shots early in the fight, but then he started jabbing and ended up stopping Pascal. If Kovalev is going to be fighting rematches against guys he’s already knocked out before like Pascal, then I think it’s going to hurt his ability to become a more popular fighter.
Kovalev’s promoter needs to look in other directions for opponents for him rather than going back to the same old played out water well to fight the same old tired fighters that he just finished knocking out.
Pascal is an especially poor opponent right now, given that he recently won a controversial 10 round decision over Cuban Yunieski Gonzalez last July by the scores of 96-94, 96-94 and 96-94. I had Gonzalez winning the fight by a couple of rounds, and I wasn’t the only one. The judges really gave Pascal a huge break in giving him a win that he arguably didn’t deserve in that fight.
“Freddie Roach is one of the best trainers of all time. It is an honor to work with Freddie,” Pascal said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that in my corner, I needed a new perspective and I thought that Freddie would be the right fit. I realized I need to improve on and correct certain mistakes I made in my loss to Kovalev,” said Pascal.
Hopefully after Pascal loses to Kovalev for a second time by knockout, HBO gets a clue and stops the rematch cycle between Kovalev and Pascal. If Kovalev and Pascal want to keep fighting each other over and over again, HBO should let them fight an on undercard or something, and save their main events for fights that are compelling between guys that haven’t fought each other before.
There’s no sense of drama in a Kovalev vs. Pascal rematch, because we already know who’s going to win. Pascal will land a few shots, then get his head jabbed off by the taller Kovalev, and then get knocked out in that order. I’d rather see Pascal fight someone he has a fighting chance against like Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez, Fonfara, Braehmer or Barrera. Pascal should also have to earn a rematch instead of having one given to him after a controversial win over Yurnieski Gonzalez.
“I’m quite confident that with Freddie in my corner, I will improve, as did Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto under him,” said Jean Pascal.
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