Pascal dominates Lucian Bute
Jean Pascal dominated an unusually tentative Lucian Bute to win the match-up of former world champions by unanimous decision before 20,479 at Montreal's Bell Centre on Saturday.
The decidedly pro-Bute crowd could do little to help their fighter, who appeared more concerned with not getting hit than with launching attacks. One judge had it 118-110, another 117-111 and the third 116-112.
Pascal took Bute's minor NABF title and something called the WBC diamond belt, but more importantly, he bested his fellow Montreal fighter in their long-awaited showdown and made himself a player again in the light-heavyweight division.
The fight, billed as the biggest between two Canadians, was a one-sided affair, with Pascal (29-2-1) on attack from the outset.
"I've waited seven years for this," Pascal said. "When I go into the ring, I want to dominate. ... That was my game plan - dominate all the time. Go in and out. To be vicious, active, explosive, and that's what I did from start to finish."
He failed to knock his Romanian-born opponent down, however, although he opened a nasty cut on Bute's nose in the 10th round. Bute (31-2) often looked confused and unwilling to go on attack.
"Jean Pascal was the better fighter and deserved to win," Bute said. "Why I let the fight go like that I don't know. ... I'll have to go over the fight many times with my team."
Despite losing, Bute made it clear his career is not finished. He even told the crowd he wants a rematch.
"It's for you to say if I have a chin or not," Bute said. "I took a lot of punches and I didn't go down."
Heavyweights Mike Perez and Carlos Takam fought to a 10-round majority draw on the undercard. Perez (20-0-1) and Takam (28-1-1) spent most of the bout with their heads locked together, trading short range blows to the head and body. Perez suffered a cut from a headbutt in the third round that hampered his performance.
The Frenchman Takam's best moment was late in the sixth when he rocked Perez with a right. Ringside judges scored it 96-94, 95-95 and 95-95.
Perez, a Cuban living in Ireland, had Mago written on his trunks in honour of Russian Magomed Abdusalamov, whose career he ended with a 10-round victory on November 2 in New York. Abdusalamov spent a month after the bout in an enduced coma and remains in a rehab centre unable to walk or talk.
Eleider Alvarez (14-0) of Montreal was supposed to be in the co-feature against veteran Thomas Oosthuisen, but the South African pulled out with an injury.
His replacement, Ottawa's Andrew Gardiner (10-1), put on a gutsy show, winning some of the middle rounds, until he was stung at the end of the eighth and the gifted Colombian took back control. Alvarez got the decision 99-91, 96-93 and 97-93.
At the end, the crowd cheered Gardiner and booed Alvarez, who had refused to touch gloves with his opponent after the bout after something was said to him from Gardiner's corner.