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Dmitry Bivol vs. Jean Pascal: Magic vs. Chaos

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  • Dmitry Bivol vs. Jean Pascal: Magic vs. Chaos

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    By David A. Avila

    Light heavyweights are sinking slowly to the land of near oblivion once again, but Russia’s Dmitry Bivol has that certain je ne sais quoineeded to anchor the 175-pounders.

    Could it be magic?

    Bivol (14-0, 11 KOs) defends the WBA light heavyweight title against Canada’s Jean Pascal (33-5-1, 20 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 24, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. HBO will televise his third defense of the title.

    Not all fighters from Eastern Europe can make the jump to prizefighting after years in the amateur ranks. Many arrive with glowing records and medals won in obscure tournaments only to find the prizefighting world does not care.

    When Russia’s Bivol arrived on American shores in 2015 you could see in his eyes the culture shock of watching the pro game after many years spent in the amateur world. One major factor in his favor was his style of boxing was well suited for the professional world.

    Every aspect of his fighting style features patience and illusion. Bivol’s like one of those magicians that you see in casinos with their slight-of-hand movements. He eases your senses slowly with almost robotic movements until he snaps into another mode and the fight is over.

    He practices these black arts of boxing constantly.

    When he recently trained in Southern California for a defense against Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera, he quietly worked with his trainer in a shadowy corner of the outdoor gym. Over and over he worked on a subtle move that looked normal to the casual fan. But the smooth and effortless maneuver was repeated tirelessly for what seemed longer than necessary.

    Like a magician the moves were polished and near invisible unless you paid attention. That’s Bivol, the magician of boxers.

    “You know, when I go into the ring, every time I feel that I should show all my skills, all my best. I should show to people all my best skills,” said Bivol. “It doesn't matter now or my first fight. Every time, I feel the responsibility.”

    Bivol defeated Barrera by knockout in the final round that night last March. He used that same subtle move practiced in the gym to lure Sullivan until a false sense of security until the end came with dark suddenness.

    Can he do that against the reckless abandon of Pascal?

    Canada’s Pascal

    Pascal is the rascal of light heavyweights. You never know what he’s going to do. He’s an emotional fighter with quirky spontaneous reactions. Simply put, he’s dangerous.

    “Jean Pascal is always ready. He never turns down an opportunity. He is a warrior,” said Kathy Duva president of Main Events. “He has fought for three world titles, and he'd like to take Dmitry's title back home to Canada.”

    The Haitian native has always depended on his grit and emotions to blast through barriers when tact and planning did not work. As a former light heavyweight world champion he feared no one and accepted all challenges.

    Pascal does not bow to anyone.

    “I'm going to be there to fight. I like to fight, I'm the underdog,” said Pascal, a world champion in 2009. “I have something on my side, experience. That's something you can't buy.”

    Reckless abandonment can be a weapon when used the way Pascal flings it about. Think Marcos Maidana and Floyd Mayweather when they collided twice. When chaos enters the game all rules are thrown out the window. Even magicians can be exposed from an ill-timed gust of wind.

    “I've got the eye of the tiger once again,” Pascal says.

    For Bivol, can he lure Pascal into his sleight of hand movements?

    “I will do everything I can to make sure this fight is exciting and it's over in an exciting fashion,” said Bivol.

    It’s magic versus chaos.

  • #2
    Despite his flaws, Bivol should be able to stop a faded Pascal no later than the seventh.


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