IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“While billed by some as a Superfight (!), many of the characteristics of such an event were missing from Pascal-Bute. Neither man, for example, had any momentum heading into the bout. Pascal’s last big fight was in May, 2011, when he was mind-melded and tamed in a rematch against Bernard “Ancient Alien” Hopkins; and Bute, pounded out in five rounds by Carl Froch in May, 2012, spent the last 14 months on the shelf with a hand injury. These were not two locomotives colliding so much as a couple of rusty Saturns jockeying for a parking space. Nor was there anything like a mandate for the fight outside of Quebec: Pascal-Bute took place in a division whose intrigue lay in other fights and other fighters (and that remains the case after Saturday night).”

Read The King of Laval: Jean Pascal W12 Lucian Bute on The Cruelest Sport.


IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“Whatever one may think of his past—his well-documented immersion in a flesh trade far more heinous than the one he now embraces—Stevenson, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, has made every effort to keep that shadow cast behind him. However ironic his relationship with violence may be, Stevenson has found his salvation in hurting people, and he is enjoying a career year. In March, Stevenson knocked out Darnell Boone, avenging his only professional loss. A fight with light heavyweight Chad Dawson followed. Dawson, who had made a living off the seniors circuit, was blown out by the older Stevenson in just over a minute. Snarling Tavoris Cloud was next, but he could barely muster a whimper against Stevenson, who beat the bully out of Cloud for seven merciless rounds. Bellew, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom, swore to be different. And for the first few rounds, he made good on his promise.”

Read SIDEWINDER: Adonis Stevenson TKO6 Tony Bellew on The Cruelest Sport.

IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“Punching power is spellbinding. You need only to consider the adjectives that accompany it for proof. Words like ‘frightening’ or ‘chilling’ indicate a visceral response to blows that turn a man’s lights out and freeze a crowd. Power produces outcomes people least want to suffer and therefore most want to see. Heavy-handed fighters fascinate because they deal in the same currency as their colleagues while producing more change. Plenty of fighters score knockouts, but power that breaks wills, that leaves men slumped, snoring, or stiff is qualitatively different. There is an element of mystery to this kind of power that is proportionate to its results. The more destructive the result, the less satisfying the explanation. ‘He is a born puncher,’ they say. And there the explanation stops.”

Read RAW POWER: Sergey Kovalev TKO4 Nathan Cleverly on The Cruelest Sport.