Barclays Center, Brooklyn - Former world champion Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) earn a narrow technical decision over previously unbeaten Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KOs) to capture the WBA interim light heavyweight title after an accidental headbutt ended the fight in round eight.
"Boxing is boxing," said Pascal. "We clashed heads, but at the end of the day, I was winning the round. I dropped him three times. It was a close fight, but I believe I was winning."
Browne appeared to be in control early, using his jab effectively and finishing his combos with power punches. Throughout the fight, Browne would land 52% of his power punches according to CompuBox.
In round four, Pascal broke through landing a perfect right hand that connected with Browne as he threw his own right hook. Browne hit the canvas for the third time in his career, but was able to make it through the round.
Browne looked to have regained control of the fight until late in round seven when Pascal again connected on a powerful right hook that caught Browne during an exchange. Pascal jumped on Browne after he got to his feet and knocked him down a third time right before the bell ended round seven.
Montreal's Pascal was looking to finish Browne in round eight, while Browne looked to effectively navigate the ring while recovering from the previous round. It was midway through the round that Pascal hit Browne with an accidental headbutt on the ropes that opened a cut over Browne's left eye.
Referee Gary Rosato halted the bout 1:49 into the round, on the advice of the ringside physician, meaning the fight went to the scorecards. By winning the shortened eighth round on all three judges' cards, Pascal won the fight by the score of 75-74 three times.
"I could hear my daughter ringside and that was motivation for me," said Pascal. "She was yelling my name all night long. I'm going to go home and talk to my team to see what is next. Canada has Drake, the NBA Champions and now I'm bringing the belt home."
Browne was unavailable for post fight comments as he was taken to NYU Lutheran Medical Center due to the cut.