MONTREAL -- Jean Pascal won a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu on Friday night, claiming the WBC light heavyweight title before 13,659 fans at the Bell Centre who seemed split in their support of the two Montreal fighters.
Diaconu (26-1), who was knocked down in the fifth, lost in his first title defense, while Pascal won in his first fight since moving up to the light heavyweight.
Judge Maximo de Luca scored it 115-112, while John Keane had it 116-112 and Jack Woodburn had it 116-111.
Their contrasting styles were evident from the outset, as Diaconu came straight ahead looking for a brawl while the quicker, taller Pascal stayed on the outside.
The crowd roared during a thrilling fifth, when Pascal knocked Diaconu down with a left and, after he got up, tried to finish him with a flurry of blows. The Romanian-born Diaconu managed to withstand the attack and ended the round with a flurry of his own.
In the 11th, Diaconu landed a right to the jaw and the two fighters went toe-to-toe while fans in the arena came to their feet. The 12th featured another long exchange, but the swollen and bloody Diaconu couldn't put Pascal down.
Diaconu won the interim WBC title in April 2008, when he beat Chris Henry in Bucharest, and was given the full title when champion Chad Dawson gave it up in order to fight Antonio Tarver for the IBF belt.
Two scheduled defenses against Silvio Blanco of Italy were canceled, so Diaconu's only bout in the past 14 months was an eight-round decision in a tune-up against David Whittom.
Pascal was in his second title fight in just over six months, having lost a bid for the WBC super-middleweight belt to Carl Froch on Dec. 6 in England.
It was the first time rival promoters InterBox, which handles Diaconu, and Groupe Yvon Michel, which has Pascal, had their fighters face each other in the ring.