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Jean Pascal gets narrow decision over Yuniesky Gonzalez

Jean Pascal may have deserved a loss tonight, but he got the win over Yuniesky Gonzalez in a competitive and entertaining bout on HBO.

HBO/Will Hart

In a bombs away light heavyweight slugfest that opened tonight's HBO World Championship Boxing card, Jean Pascal escaped with a close and very debatable decision over unbeaten and unknown Cuban Yuniesky Gonzalez, winning by unanimous decision on scores of 96-94 across the board. BLH had it 97-93 for Gonzalez, which is also what HBO's Harold Lederman had.

The fight was certainly close and competitive, with a good handful of the rounds arguable either way. The result may not be a true robbery, but few if any cards on social media had the fight for Pascal (30-3-1, 17 KO), who may have gotten the nod simply because he is more famous, was favored to win, and a potential rematch with Sergey Kovalev has been rumored to be all but a done deal provided that both won their fights tonight.

Even the CompuBox stats for this fight had little to separate the two fighters, though Gonzalez (16-1, 13 KO) did have a solid advantage in power shots landed. Both guys were wobbled at various points, though never in any serious danger, and the fight was a real war of attrition, as Gonzalez came out fast and ran himself out of gas by the sixth round or so, and Pascal, never known for great stamina down the stretch of a grueling fight, was also looking winded as the bout came to a close.

What pushed our card in Gonzalez's favor was activity, as he seemed to boss much of the action and dictate a lot of the fight's tempo, pushing forward even when obviously out of gas. Pascal did land a number of good shots, and both guys missed plenty, too, wasting a lot of energy, while at the same time providing good action.

What hurts most for Gonzalez is he may have looked too dangerous for many name fighters at 175 to want to get into the ring with him, and he didn't get what could have been a career and even life changing win, which could have forced someone to fight him. But that's boxing.