Jean Pascal says this was it, and if so, he went out with a bang.
The former light heavyweight champion of the world stopped previously unbeaten prospect Ahmed Elbiali at 2:06 of the sixth round in an entertaining PBC on FS1 main event on Friday night, forcing Elbiali’s corner to throw the towel during a relentless flurry of punches, then announced that he would retire from boxing at age 35.
Pascal (32-5-1, 19 KO) was simply the better fighter in this one, and came with a determination that allowed him to overcome a good shot here and there from the powerful Elbiali (16-1, 13 KO), who did hurt Pascal but was never able to really capitalize on those moments.
Pascal fought, indeed, like the proverbial man possessed, as if this was, in fact, a special night, the last time he intends to lace up the gloves. He stayed in control of the rhythm of the fight, and looked more energetic and dialed in than we’ve seen from him in quite a while.
It’s a big setback for the 27-year-old Elbiali, but hardly the end of his line. If he can learn from this and bounce back, there’s still a bright future there. He took a big step up here, and it didn’t pay off.
Pascal insists he’s done in the ring, but like many fighters in history, he may find it hard to stick with that. Not only might the competitive juices get flowing again, but this win, and the fact that he’s 35 with some name value left, makes him a potentially attractive opponent for some key fighters in the light heavyweight division. He’ll surely get offers, we’ll see if he stays retired.
On the undercard, heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz returned to action with a predictable second round knockout of Daniel Martz. Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO) was fighting for the first time in a year, after having a fight with Deontay Wilder scrapped recently for drug testing issues.
The WBC cleared Ortiz last week, and the 38-year-old Cuban jumped right back into the ring as soon as possible. After the win, he called out Wilder, who was ringside. Martz, a club fighter from West Virginia, falls to 16-6-1 (13 KO).
Welterweight Bryant Perrella got back in the win column, ending a nearly 15-month layoff with an eight-round decision win over Alex Martin. Perrella (15-1, 13 KO) dropped Martin (13-3, 5 KO) in the first round, then went on to win on scores of 77-74, 79-72, and 79-72.