Friday, December 5, 2014

A Look At Pascal-Bolonti And Lemieux-Rosado

The sport of Boxing has seen some fights throughout 2014 that have led to some intriguing potential bouts in 2015.  As the year 2014 in Boxing is winding down however, there are more bouts in the next couple of weeks that may lay the groundwork for more potential fights as 2015 approaches.  Such is the case in regard to two fights taking place on December 6th in the Light-Heavyweight and Middleweight divisions. The first of those bouts pits former Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal returns to the ring for the first time since defeating former Super-Middleweight world champion Lucian Bute in January of this year to take on top contender Roberto Bolonti at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada in a fight scheduled for ten rounds. 

The fight between Pascal and Bolonti, which will be televised in the United States via pay-per-view came about after Lucian Bute, who was originally scheduled to face Roberto Bolonti on this card pulled out due to an injury to his back while in training. Jean Pascal meanwhile was originally scheduled to face Super-Middleweight contender Donovan George in a Light-Heavyweight bout. This however, changed when negotiations between Pascal’s promoter Jean Bedard of Interbox and George’s management fell through leaving Pascal and Bolonti to face each other.

Another interesting twist to this fight emerged when it was announced earlier this week that if Pascal is victorious against Roberto Bolonti, he has a date to face undefeated unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev in March of next year. This now puts Pascal in essentially the same scenario that Kovalev found himself in earlier this year when an opportunity emerged for Kovalev to face then IBF/WBA champion Bernard Hopkins in a unification fight a day prior to Kovalev’s defense of his WBO title against Blake Caparello. Kovalev subsequently took care of business against Caparello and went on to unify his title against Hopkins last month.

For the Canadian based Pascal the former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion this could put him in position for another opportunity at a world championship. The task for Pascal before a potential fight between himself and Sergey Kovalev can take place will be to defeat Roberto Bolonti. Stylistically this fight seems to favor Pascal who uses an unorthodox style combining hand speed, power, and lateral movement to execute his offense. What has been a detriment however, for Pascal is he has had trouble in the past pacing himself and has faded in the latter stages of fights, most notably in his first fight with Bernard Hopkins.

It will be interesting to see whether the potential title shot against Sergey Kovalev will influence how Pascal (29-2-1, with 17 Knockouts) fights and whether he will be looking for a knockout in this fight. In Roberto Bolonti (35-3, with 24 Knockouts), Pascal faces a fighter who does have power registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 64%. An argument can be made however, that Bolonti, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina has not been successful when he has attempted to step up his level of opposition as he suffered two of his three losses to top contender Tony Bellew and in his last fight to former WBO world champion Juergon Braehmer, who currently holds interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Light-Heavyweight ratings.

The key to this fight in my eyes for Bolonti is he needs to find a way to let his hands go consistently and not give Pascal openings to execute his offense, which usually comes in quick spurts. Bolonti must find a way to keep Pascal somewhat on the defensive. In his last fight in June of this year, Juergon Braehmer consistently beat Bolonti to the punch often throwing and landing punches in combination and was able to win a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision over Bolonti.

Given Pascal’s unorthodox style and quickness, it would not surprise this observer if some were expecting a similar scenario in this fight where Pascal could likely beat Bolonti to the punch and box his way to a convincing decision victory as Braehmer was able to do. Bolonti however, has never been stopped in thirty-eight professional fights and will likely be there for Pascal for how ever long the fight lasts. 

The second fight that will likely be of interest to most Boxing fans on Saturday night pits top Middleweight contender David Lemieux against former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in a fight that will be televised in the United States by HBO, scheduled for twelve rounds. Lemieux (32-2, with 30 Knockouts) has been a rising contender in the talent stacked Middleweight division in recent years. Lemieux has knockout power in either hand registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 89% in his career thus far.

Lemieux however, has faced some adversity as he has climbed up the Middleweight ranks as he suffered a knockout loss at the hands of former world title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio in April 2011 and suffered another setback in losing a twelve round majority decision to Joachim Alcine later that year. Despite suffering those losses, Lemieux has shown the ability to bounce back and has won his last seven fights, winning six by knockout.

The Canadian based Lemieux, who also shares the same promoter as Jean Pascal will be fighting for the first time in the United States when he takes on the tough veteran Gabriel Rosado. Rosado (21-8, with 13 Knockouts) has twice fought for a world title giving valiant efforts against current unified WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and undefeated former WBO champion Peter Quillin. In his last fight in August of this year, Rosado defeated Bryan Vera via sixth round knockout in a bout that was fought under the format and rules of BKB: Big Knockout Boxing for the BKB Middleweight world championship.

As some readers might recall in this observer’s previous coverage of BKB cards however, due to the rules and format in which fights are fought under BKB, those fights have not been considered official by official Boxing record keepers and for the time being, BKB remains a separate form of Professional Boxing as compared to the traditional form of the sport. In Rosado’s recent fights fought under the traditional format of Professional Boxing, he gone winless in his last four fights going 0-3-1, with a no decision in his fight against J’leon Love in May of last year.

Although Rosado, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has gone winless in his previous four official fights, he has proven every time he gets in the ring that he comes to win and has always given everything he has no matter the opposition. This fight between Lemieux and Rosado has the makings of what could be an all-out war.

Even though the statistics may favor David Lemieux due to his high career knockout percentage, Gabriel Rosado will likely be more than willing to engage with Lemieux and will likely not be intimidated by Lemieux’s knockout record. Although Rosado, in contrast to Lemieux has only thirteen knockouts in his twenty-one wins he has given fighters like Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin stern tests and if Lemieux is underestimating Rosado, it would not shock me if what some would consider an upset were to take place.

It will be interesting to see what may be in store for the winner of this fight in what is a very deep Middleweight division where any of the top contenders could find themselves challenging for a world championship at any given time. For Lemieux, who is currently ranked in the top ten of the WBC, IBF, and WBO Middleweight ratings respectively, an impressive performance against Gabriel Rosado just may put him in line for a title shot. A victory for Rosado may put him right back in line for what would be a third attempt at a world title.

 No matter who should emerge victorious in these two fights, the results may just make the landscape of the Light-Heavyweight and Middleweight divisions even more interesting as 2015 approaches. We will see who emerges victorious on Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Pascal vs. Bolonti can be seen in the United States via Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View and is available on cable and satellite television providers as well as online at www.GFL.TV on Saturday December 6th at 8PM EST/5PM PST. For ordering information contact your local cable or satellite provider or visit www.GFL.TV. Check your listings internationally.

Lemieux vs. Rosado can be seen in the United States on HBO on Saturday December 6th at 10PM EST/PST. Check your listings internationally.

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