On July 25, 2015 former light heavyweight world champion, Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) will take on undefeated prospect Yuniesky Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs) as the co-feature to the HBO World Championship Boxing telecast of the Sergey Kovalev vs. Nadjib Mohammedi fight live from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pascal is fresh off his first loss in almost four years and is looking to take on the undefeated Cuban prospect. Below is the scouting report for this exciting match-up:
Jean Pascal 32 29-3-1 (17 KOs)
Yuniesky Gonzalez 30 16-0-0 (12 KOs)
Pascal possesses good speed and power in both hands; he also has a solid chin and a ton of experience. He has been competing against the division's top fighters since 2008, which is a list that includes Bernard Hopkins twice and the division's top light heavyweight, Sergey Kovalev.
Gonzalez has good power and has the ability to distribute punishment throughout his fights. He overwhelms his opponents before finishing them off. He is a very good inside fighter and fights with great confidence too.
Pascal has a tendency to tire out late in fights if he does not conserve his energy properly in the earlier rounds. He also tends to get sloppy, which could cause his defense to open up a bit.
Gonzalez lacks adequate experience and has not fought top-level opposition yet. This fight against Pascal will be a major step up in competition and could be a game-changer in his young career.
Jean will have the advantage here. He has been a part of eight major title fights and holds victories over both Chad Dawson and Lucian Bute. He also currently has more than two-times as many professional bouts (32) as Gonzalez (16).
Gonzalez will be at a disadvantage. He has yet to face any top level opposition, nor has he had even half the amount of professional bouts as Pascal.
Pascal has good power in both hands, especially when he puts his punches together. He has a right hand that can be a game-changer in any fight if he lands it flush.
Yuniesky possesses good power in both hands; he has a left hook that can change the direction of any fight if landed clean.
Pascal is quick, which becomes more evident in his flurries of punches, which are usually put together when he has his opponent against the ropes and he goes for the finish.
Yuniesky has good hand speed that is put on full display when he finds a weakness in his opponent. He fights very well on the inside, where his punches are fast, short, and crisp.
Pascal will have an advantage here as he has gone 12 rounds on eight separate occasions.
Gonzalez's endurance is still in question, he has yet to go a full 12 rounds and has only gone ten rounds once in his career (in 2012).
Pascal may be at a slight disadvantage in terms of accuracy, he tends to get sloppy at times when unloading flurries of punches.
Gonzalez may have a slight advantage as his accuracy becomes more evident when fighting on the inside. Then he uses his accurate body work in hopes of setting up his left hook upstairs.
Pascal likes to dictate the pace of the fight, which can mean standing in the center and trading blows. This is a tactic that allows him to take shots and leave openings in his defense that he should avoid.
Yuniesky's offense might be his best defense. He likes to come forward and walk his opponents down, looking to break them down and finish the fight.
Pascal has a solid chin and has been in wars with some heavy-handed punchers. However, he was stopped for the first time in his career in his most recent outing against the division's heaviest hitter, Sergey Kovalev.
Gonzalez's chin is still yet to be seen; he has finished nine of his 16 fights by the third round. If this fight gets into the later rounds, then his chin may become an issue.
Jean is an aggressive fighter who will not hesitate to stand and trade with anyone if given the opportunity.
Yuniesky is an offensive fighter who likes to move forward at all times; he tries to finish all of his opponents - and finish them early.
Pascal is a popular name in the sport of boxing, so he will probably have most of the support from the fans in attendance.
Although Yuniesky is an undefeated power puncher, he is still a bit unknown to the boxing world. However, his in-your-face style could win over some of the crowd as he fights Pascal with a very similar and exciting style.
After coming off a tough and hard-fought defeat against the division's best fighter, Sergey Kovalev, Pascal opted to make a quick turnaround and get right back in the ring. Instead of a tune-up bout, he will test his skills against a young, undefeated power puncher in Yunieski Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has taken a very quiet road to becoming the IBF's #15 light heavyweight contender. Rather than test his skills against someone deeper in the ranks, he will face a former light heavyweight titleholder, and current top ten ranked light heavyweight, Jean Pascal.
Is this too big of a stage for Gonzalez to handle in his toughest test to date?
Will Pascal be able to take Gonzalez's power and speed?
This is the fight where Gonzalez can make a big statement in the light heavyweight division, will he?
Will Pascal be scared to get hit after his last fight with Kovalev?
According to Main Events' matchmaker Jolene Mizzone who was recently named the NABF Matchmaker of the Year, "If Gonzalez pulls the upset with Pascal he would enter one of the top divisions in boxing as new blood, which would make it very interesting for the entire division. I think any light heavyweight fight that is made is very important in boxing right now because it is a hot division that needs some hungry up-and-coming guys."