In front of a pro-Pascal crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Kovalev enjoyed the better of seven full rounds before taking the Haitian-Canadian out in the eighth round to retain his WBA, WBO and IBF championships.
Pascal was badly hurt in the third round and counted after slouching through the ropes from a Kovalev onslaught, but somehow survived the attack and came back with some shots of his own in the fourth.
The next round was a far better one for Pascal as he showed that he did have the power to wobble Kovalev, although the ‘Krusher’ refocused his efforts to pile on the pressure over the next two rounds.
A bone-crunching combination in the eighth had Pascal all over the place and after taking a tumble to the floor, Kovalev hit the challenger with two more shuddering blows forcing referee Luis Pabon to step in and save him.
Although Pascal protested like the warrior he is, Pabon was right to end the contest leaving Kovalev to celebrate becoming the first fighter to ever stop the one-time WBC title holder. Pascal has the heart of a lion though and can hold his head up high after giving Kovalev more problems than anybody has in his 27 previous bouts.
Kovalev moves on to a potential four-belt super-fight with current WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in the summer provided that ‘Superman’ comes through fledgling 175lber Sakio Bika on April 4 at the Pepsi Colisuem in Quebec City.