LAVAL, Quebec, Canada - Jean Pascal was the heavy favorite to win his IBF light heavyweight title eliminator over Michael Eifert in what most viewed as an easy fight, but the German had other plans.
Eifert (12-1, 4 KOs) dominated and outboxed the former world champion to secure a 12-round unanimous decision. The win puts him in line for a shot at unified world champion Artur Beterbiev.
Judges David Braslow (117-111), Pasquale Procopio (118-110), and Anthony Paolillo (115-113) all scored their fight for Eifert, who went 12 rounds for the first time in his career. NYFights scored it 117-111 for Eifert. The 25-year-old was in control from the onset, using his jab and crisp left hooks to bewilder Pascal throughout their encounter.
Eifert established his jab for much of the first round. He landed a left hook that sent Pascal back into the ropes with 25 seconds to go in the opening frame.
With about a minute remaining in the second round, Eifert backed Pascal into the ropes and connected with a right hand. Moments later, Pascal threw a series of wild overhands that came nowhere close to finding the target. At the end of the round, Pascal looked every bit of his 40 years -- old and slow.
Eifert continued to box Pascal's ears off in the third round. He connected with a two-punch combination: a straight right hand to the head and a straight right to the body. With roughly 1:40 left in the round, Pascal landed a left hook, but it didn't land clean as Eifert continued to march forward. With just under 35 seconds remaining on the clock, Eifert nailed Pascal with a left hook that knocked him off balance.
During the round break, Pascal's trainer, Hall of Famer Orlando Cuellar, blasted Pascal.
"Don't chase this motherfuc** around! Shi**!!! Fu**!"
Instead of chasing him around, Pascal took some punishment against the ropes. Eifert connected with a series of lefts and rights, which drew a smile from Pascal.
Cuellar urged Pascal to walk Eifert down in round five. He got off to a good start as he landed a right hand, but his punches lacked the ferocity from his heyday.
Eifert dominated Pascal for the rest of the frame, backing him up with stiff jabs and left hooks that buckled his legs.
Pascal connected with a big overhand right hand to start the sixth round and ended the frame with five hard right hands in a row to Eifert's body.
Eifert rebounded with a strong eighth round. He drilled Pascal with a left-right combination that froze him in his tracks. With roughly 30 seconds left in the round, a sweeping left hook landed for Eifert and nailed him again in a subsequent exchange of left hooks that left Pascal stumbling backward and out of breath.
In the ninth round, Eifert outboxed Pascal, utilizing his jab and straight body shots to keep Pascal guessing. Late in the round, Pascal returned fire with a pair of right hands.
Pascal managed to land a pair of lefts and rights in the 10th round, but his gas tank was depleted.
A determined Pascal looked for the knockout shot in the 12th round, but Eifert took a step back and let his hands go in the final round. He countered Pascal's overaggressiveness and knocked the spent Pascal into the ropes in the final minute of their fight and continued to pound away up until the final bell.
Pascal and Eifert were initially slated to fight February 9 at Place Bell, but Pascal tested positive for COVID-19, which postponed the bout for five weeks.
Pascal was coming off a near-three-year hiatus when he upset previously unbeaten Chinese contender Meng Fanlong (17-1, 10 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision last May in Plant City, Florida. The hiatus was partially caused by Pascal, who failed five random Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered tests for four banned substances in June 2021. The news came less than a week before he was set to face Badou Jack in a rematch on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul undercard in Miami. While he was only suspended for six months by the WBA, the embarrassing situation would keep him on the shelf for a considerable amount of time.
For Eifert, it's his sixth consecutive win and the first big name on his résumé. The fighter known as "Diesel" was fresh off a 10-round unanimous decision over Adriano Sperandio last July in Germany.