Battling for bragging rights and a shot at a world title, former light heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal dominated most of the fight to win a unanimous 12-round decision over former super middleweight champion Lucian Bute at a rocking Bell Centre in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Scores were 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111 for Pascal.
The bout was televised live on HBO Championship Boxing.
Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) began to dominate halfway through the opening stanza. His punches were faster and harder. A sweeping left bothered Bute. Pascal, the shorter fighter, absorbed a Bute (33-2, 24 KOs) left and connected with his own right hand in round two.
Bute, a southpaw, caught Pascal with a quick left in round three. Pascal stayed low and looked for openings. Bute landed a combination that gave his fans something to cheer about.
Pascal was back in control in round four. While Bute waited, Pascal fired sweeping combinations. Two body shots landed. Bute fought back, but was clipped again by a hard right hook. He glared at Pascal. He brought that attitude with him in round five, but it didn’t last. Pascal outworked him in the last minute of the round.
Bute loitered on the ropes in round six and paid for it. Pascal strafed him with glancing shots. He was quicker and landing the more effective punches. Bute clipped Pascal with a left in the next round, but the impact was minimal. Pascal fired four or five punches at a time. Only two landed, but Bute didn’t make him pay.
Bute came out with more purpose in round eight, but now he needed something dramatic to happen. Pascal connected with a good right that shook him. His bursts of energy were to much for the 33-year-old Bute.
Pascal stunned Bute a number of times in rounds nine and 10. Bute was searching for answers. Pascal, 31, was more confident and landed a straight right that knocked Bute back a step. An accidental head butt opened a cut near the left eye of Bute.
Bute was bloody but unbowed in round 11. Pascal snapped his head back with a combination. Bute landed a left that seemed to hurt Pascal. Wrong. He sprang out of the corner and unleashed a combination of punches. Bute backed up and took the shots.
Bute’s corner told him he needed to knock Pascal out in the last round. He was obviously way behind on the scorecards. Bute, turned tiger and backed a now passive Pascal into the corner. Pascal rolled with some shots, but took a number of hard punches. He looked a little wobbly at the end of the fight.
“This win means a lot,” said Pascal after the fight. ”I’ve been working very hard for this. I proved I’m the best.”
“I’m disappointed in my performance,” said Bute. ”Things didn’t go the way I planned.”