By Jon Uddin✏
Out to prove that they still have what it takes to mix it up in the Light-Heavyweight division, tough ring veterans 🇭🇹🇨🇦Jean Pascal (35-6-1, 20KO) and 🇸🇪Badou Jack (22-3-3, 13KO) put on the performance of the night Saturday at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Boxing fans familiar with both fighters knew the potential this matchup held when it was announced, with both being known as tough outs in the ring. At 37, Pascal’s reputation has been established throughout the years with fights against the likes of Bernard Hopkins (twice), Carl Froch, Sergey Kovalev (twice), and Chad Dawson. Jack, 36, fully earned his badge of grit at the beginning of 2019 when he fought through his own blood soaked face caused by one of the deeper gashes you’ll see in boxing in his fight with Marcus Browne.
To go along with their never say die attitude was the fact that neither man could afford to take a loss in this one, creating that perfect formula for the classic crossroads battle that played out.
Both fighters came out with calculated aggression, but it was Pascal’s activity that helped him edge out the early rounds. In the third round Jack began finding a home for his right cross, landing it at a more consistent rate and stunning Pascal by the end of the round.
Jack got back to work in the fourth, opening up on Pascal and owned the round until the Haitian born Canadian delivered an overhand right that sent the former two division Champion stumbling to the canvas with less than ten seconds to go. Jack would get to his feet and was saved from any further damage by the round coming to a close, but all his work had been erased as Pascal had stole the round back with the knockdown.
As the mid rounds went by Jack began to find his rhythm with his jab and get the better of Pascal with the body work, all while attempting to stay out of range of the lead left hooks and overhand rights that were coming back at him. The return fire seemed to turn up at the close of each round as Pascal seemed to make a concerted effort to make a lasting impression as they came to a close.
If Jack was losing the early rounds of this fight, by the eighth he was definitely closing the gap. With his jab, right hand, body work and uppercuts all splitting the guard of Pascal, Jack was asserting himself offensively and Pascal’s movement was slowing down as he seemed to be trying to find a second wind to carry him through the back end of the fight.
The Championship rounds brought the fire from both men as they fought toe to toe, exchanging blows and testing each others will, with Jack hoping he would tap into Pascal’s final ounce of energy, and Pascal letting the Swedish fighter know he wasn’t going to break. In the 12th Jack evened the score on the knockdown board as he delivered crushing right hands that sent Pascal to the deck for just the second time of his career.
When Pascal got back to his feet he was joined by the 14,000 in attendance who were soaking up the action as the two battled it out to the final bell. When the round closed both raised their arms, each man rightly feeling they had done enough to get the win.
When the final scores were read it was Pascal that took home the victory and retained his version of the WBA Light-Heavyweight Title, getting the nod by split decision 114-112 twice for him and one judge scoring 114-112 in favor of Jack. The crowd let their disapproval of the scores be heard, as they seemed to feel Jack had done enough to take the fight, but it appeared the early rounds Pascal racked up were the difference.
Jon Uddin’s Score: 113-113 Draw
Tré Berry’s Score: 114-112 Badou Jack