By Dave Spencer, photo: Dave Spencer
It was supposed to be an opportunity to tune-up and shake off some rust after 19 months away from the ring. It would instead open up old wounds and once again attach the face of bravery to light-heavyweight Jean Pascal (27-2-1 16KO). The former world champion fought for eight rounds one-handed as he injured his left arm in the second round and was forced to improvise over the course of the next eight as he was still able to dominate Polish opponent Aleksy Kuziemski (23-5 7KO) and win a hands down 100-88, 98-90, 98-90 decision, scoring a pair of knockdowns for good measure.
Two-time world title challenger Kuziemski could offer up very little and often looked like a deer in the headlights as Pascal moved, switched to southpaw, and threw a bucket full of right hands to keep control of the fight.
It was the third time Pascal has been forced to fight with one hand in his career, but the first time it has been the left that has failed him. “I think this was the worst one because it happened in the second round,” said Pascal after the fight. It was really painful after the second but I was able to do one arm. I think I did a pretty good job with only one arm and I think I’m proud of myself and hope people understand that.”
Pascal lost the use of his right hand in his second world title fight with Adrian Diaconu in 2009 where he separated his shoulder and had it popped back in by his corner several times and in 2007 against Esteban Camou where he injured the arm in the second and finished things in the next round with a scintilatting left hook.
The true nature of the currnet injury isn’t known yet and it remains to be seen whether it will affect the proposed Chad Dawson rematch set for March 23. “I don’t know,” said promoter Yvon Michel about whether the fight will go foward, “We’ll know more tomorrow after an x-ray. We’ll know how damaged his shoulder is and a decision will be taken according to this.
“The doctor says there is a large inflamation so they don’t know for sure whether it is a bicep, a shoulder so they said there is no conclusion they can make yet. I asked what’s the best and what’s the worst. The worst is that it is the same kind of injury as the other shoulder and it will need surgery. The best is that he only needs physiotherapy and he will be rady by next week.”
Michel doesn’t believe it is as bad as the injury from the Diaconu fight that kept him out eight months. “There’s no dislocation, during the Diaconu fight there was a dilocation and a broken bone. With the broken bone a lot of torn ligaments and muscles but that’s not the case. The shoulder for sure was never out of its joint.”