By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada
Photos by Herby Whyne
UPDATED: WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) scored an eleven round technical decision over previously unbeaten WBC interim light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal before a crowd of 8122 enthusiastic fans. Pascal also captures Dawson’s IBO belt along with the Ring Magazine vacant 175 pound championship.
A desperate Dawson went for the KO in round eleven and looked like he might do it before suffering a bad cut from an accidental headbutt that sent the bout to the scorecards.
Final scores read 106-103, 106-103 and an inexplicable tally of 108-101 from the lone Canadian judge, Jack Woodburn who somehow gave the 11th round to Pascal, despite the fact the reigning champion was hanging on weathering a fierce barrage from Dawson who was able to land a debilitating uppercut early in the round.
Dawson’s promoter Gary Shaw was adamant that the headbutt was not accidental and let a verbal tirade reign down from the top rope to the commissioner’s table soon after the match was over. “That was an intentional headbutt, why do you think I didn’t want to be in Canada,” shouted Shaw as Dawson’s corner attended to their cut fighter.
Pascal responded after the fight that the clash was accidental and that there was no controversy. “That was a headbutt but I’m not a dirty fighter, I’ve fought 26 fights and I’m not a dirty fighter.”
Although he called the 108-101 tally from Woodburn preposterous, Shaw admitted that he had an identical card to the other two judges. “I felt the deck was stacked against us,” said the promoter who questioned the judging (or the judge), the headbutt, the stoppage and the refereeing during the bout.
Little hesitation was taken by the ringside physician to put a halt to what had been a great fight when Dawson’s right eye was ripped open when heads collided between the southpaw Dawson and orthodox Pascal. Despite the promoter’s claims that he should have been able to carry on, the cut was bleeding heavily right from the beginning and the former undefeated fighter was worked on for a good five minutes once the bout was over.
Pascal also had some advice for his opponent who was still searching for answers, looking for what went wrong.
“You have to win like a champion and lose like a champion,” said Pascal. I lost against Carl Froch, he beat me in England, he beat me, and I came back stronger. Don’t give me excuses Chad Dawson, now I’ve beat you, and you have to come back stronger.
“I’m for real, I’m a warrior, I’m a champion. They said there was no solution to beat Chad Dawson, I was the blueprint, I was the solution.”
Pascal got off to an explosive start and never looked back, capturing the first three rounds across the board with his explosiveness and speed.
Dawson tried to swing momentum back his way as early as the second round by demonstrating the jab that has made him such a force in the 175 pound division but it was a tool that lay dormant for the most of the night as the fight progressed.
After a sloppy fourth round where both fighters had balance issues, Dawson seemed to be finding his range in the fifth starting with a mean right hand to the body that had Pascal momentarily hanging on for the first time in the fight. Dawson would continue with the harder punches delivered with precision accuracy, but was not busy enough to dent Pascal’s will and determination.
Each fighter had their moments as the pair went back and forth through the middle rounds.
Pascal’s best moment came in the 7th round when a right hand forced Dawson back into the ropes and the Montreal fighter jumped on the opportunity unleashing a flurry, trying to put the Connecticut fighter down. A well disguised low blow help sag the knees of Dawson but he remained resolute and came right back.
Pascal can usually dictate the pace of a fight by unleashing a full frontal assault and then regrouping as his foe is only too happy to oblige the temporary reprieve. Dawson provided no such luxury, coming right back anytime the blitzkrieg from Pascal would temper itself.
Pascal’s attack though was finding its mark though and did again in the 8th when after absorbing four solid body blows, the local fighter countered with resonating right hand that stopped the undefeated challenger dead in his tracks and hanging on the best he could.
When Dawson turned the tables in the 9th and had the hometown fighter seemingly hurt, he did little to follow up and take advantage.
That all seemed to be changing in the 11th when the clash of heads ended the bout prematurely and left crowd wondering what might have transpired in the final round.
Dawson believes it would have gone his way. “I could have finished the fight,” said the fighter. “I had him out on his feet, he knows it.”
Luckily enough there is a rematch clause in the contract, although it is not immediate. Despite his disdain for all things Canadian, Gary Shaw realizes that Pascal is now in the driver’s seat. “I gotta go where Jean wants me to go, he has all the belts.”
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Lightweight Tony Luis (10-0 3KO) pounded out a 78-74, 79-73, 80-72 decision over Adrian Verdugo (12-2-1 9KO) of Mexico. Luis was able to fire off three and four punch combinations for the duration on an opponent who offered very little in return. Verdugo sported a respectable 12-1-1 record going in, but against what amounted to horrible opposition. The average record of opponent over his last 4 four wins amounted to 5-18. It was the first time Luis has been past six rounds and the Cornwall fighter looked tired on his stool over the last two rounds but still came out and continued to deliver he combinations, although their frequency were slightly diminished. Verdugo did put up somewhat of an effort over the course of the last round, but it was about eight rounds too late.
Super-lightweight Dierry Jean returned to action for the first time since last November and gave journeyman Antonio Soriano all he could handle for six rounds before the Mexican threw in the towel in what was scheduled for eight rounds. In what was a glorified sparring session, Haition sensation Jean was able to land at will and remained virtually untouched for the duration. Soriano despite a 15-12-2 record has proven to been a durable opponent when travelling to Canada, never being stopped in his five previous visits. Jean moves to 18-0 with his 12th stoppage.
Super-featherweight Kevin Lavallee wasted no time in scoring his second knockout in as many fights, dispatching Genaro Garcia (9-9 6KO) at 1:16 of the first round. The Russ Anber trained product overwhelmed his Mexican opponent 40 seconds in sending Garcia down to the canvas and quickly followed up with a left to the body to finish things off for good.
Unheralded Puerto Rican Rubin Rivera (3-4 1KO) was able to walk into undefeated Wayne John’s backyard and hand the heavyweight his first defeat, knocking down the Montreal fighter with a counter right hand to end the first round. John was able to come back in the second and go to ample body of Rivera that was big as all outdoors but there was little action from either fighter in the last half of the six round snooze fest. Despite the knockdown, judge Jean Lapointe some how had the fight scored 59-55 for John while the other two judges saw it a more reasonable 57-56 for the visitor Rivera.
Lightweight Arash Usmanee (6-0 3KO) made easy work of Hugo Pacheco (11-16-1 9KO) with three knockdowns, ending the proceedings with a right hand to put down the overmatched Mexican fighter for a final time at 1:28 of the second round. Pacheco who has never beaten a fighter with a winning record is no relation to the “Fight Doctor” who bears the same last name, but probably could have used one by the end of the fight.