Pascal too strong for Bute
Jean Pascal beat Lucian Bute on points in one of the biggest all-Canadian fights ever staged in Montreal.
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Pascal, born in Haiti, and Bute, born in Romania, have both made their homes in the North American country and the non-title light-heavyweight fight drew a wide audience.
Bute, who still had plenty to prove after his crushing defeat to Carl Froch more than 18 months ago, was expected to come on strong if negotiating the early rounds but struggled to let his hands go before it was too late.
Pascal erupted in the second round, appearing to hurt his opponent, but although Bute had a better third he allowed Pascal to dominate the fourth
and he ended it on wobbly legs after a big right hand on the bell.
Pascal dominated the middle rounds with a higher work-rate with the ninth being particularly one-sided as 33-year-old Bute appeared to be out of ideas.
The fight had not lived up to expectations and Bute was marked up by the 11th when he came under another barrage of blows, although it spurred him into action late on before Pascal came back another flurry of his own.
Bute he belatedly came out of his shell in the final session, forcing Pascal to cover up in the corner when looking hurt, and the pair finished the fight trading with the southpaw claiming a moral victory.
But he was unable to close the show and in the end it came as no surprise when the judges gave it to Pascal 116-112, 117-111 and 117-110.
"It means a lot. I've been working hard for this - for five years I've been chasing Bute to show people I'm the best in town, and today I proved it," said the former WBC champion.
"I want to thank Roy Jones who came into my corner, he's a down to earth guy and is one of the great pound-for-pound fighters."
Pascal said he wasn't hurt in the 12th round despite coming under fire and taking some clean shots.
"This is boxing, this is war. I love to feel the pain, take punches and throw back. This is the sport of boxing.
"I'll take a vacation but I don't know who's next."
On the undercard, Cuban exile Mike Perez struggled to retain his unbeaten record in a majority draw with Carlos Takam of Cameroon.
Only 10 weeks on from a gruelling victory over Magomed Abdusalamov that left the Russian in a coma, Perez appeared to be going through the motions in the first half of the 10-round fight after a cut opened up following a clash of heads.
But Takam started to force the fight and put Perez on the back foot in the later rounds, the Cuban digging deep in the final session and just doing enough in the end to retain a 21-fight unbeaten streak, 12 of his 20 wins by KO.