One round away from history

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 19, 2010

IOWA CITY (BASN) — In the 50’s, the “Old Mongoose” Archie Moore rode atop of the light heavyweight division with guile and a knockout punch past the age of 40 and Bernard Hopkins is this generation’s version to the Old Mongoose.

While Hopkins lacks Moore’s knockout punch, he doesn’t lack guile when it comes to boxing smarts.

Hopkins been able to survive into his 40’s simply because of his boxing style which he constantly improved.

Hopkins always had good techniques and tactical skills plus adaptability within the ring. Early in his career, he lost a unanimous decision to Roy Jones but later in his career when both fighters were past 40, it was Hopkins who easily won the rematch.

While Jones depended upon speed and superior athletic skills, Hopkins depended upon sound boxing techniques. When Jones speed deserted him, he became more vulnerable to fighters that he would have handled earlier in his career.

Hopkins never lost his techniques and honed those skills in training, so he maintained his place as one of the elites Middleweights and light heavyweights late into his career due to those skills.

Hopkins depended less on quickness that leaves as you get older but his ring experience which allowed him to outsmart and outmaneuver younger opponents.

Jean Pascal made his mark in the light heavyweight when he defeated Chad Dawson with by outsmarting the talented American and fighting in his home country, he had the advantage of youth and full house in his hometown of Quebec City.

In the opening three rounds, Pascal used his youth to gain advantage as he slipped a right hand to Hopkins that sent the older fighter down and in the third round, he got nailed with a left hook that sent him down a second time in a round that he may have been winning.

From the fourth round to the end of the fight, Hopkins summoned all of his experience as he moved to the body to slow the younger fighter. If the first three rounds saw Pascal using the large ring to his advantage, but after the fourth saw Pascal hanging on to defend his title.

What changed the momentum was Hopkins’ ripping left hook to Pascal’s body which wore him down. Between the fourth and seventh round, Hopkins walked the younger Pascal down and got himself back in the fight.

After essentially being down five points in the first three rounds, Hopkins made the fight closer with each round. In the eighth round, Hopkins continued to press his advantage but Pascal countered with some effective straight rights and uppercuts to slow the Hopkins express.

He continued his assault in the next round and even dazed Pascal with solid right hands.

Hopkins continued his assault in the tenth and eleventh round as Pascal was reduced to throwing one punch at a time.

In the 12th round, both fighters went after each other with shots after shots. Pascal feared his championship slipping away and Hopkins wanted to end the fight with a big knockout as to avoid this fight going to the scorecard.

Over the last minute, both fighters exchanged blows and as the seconds counted down, both fighters looked for the one last blow to impress the judge. Hopkins dominated the fight from the fourth round on and while I had Hopkins winning, there were close rounds that could have been called either way.

Hopkins not only threw more punches but connected on more punches as well as being the more accurate puncher. From every aspect of the fight, this should have been a Hopkins decision.

But Pascal had two 10-8 rounds with his knockdown and with a five point lead early; Hopkins was forced to win at least seven of the last nine rounds just to get a draw.

One judge had the fight 114- 112 in Hopkins while the other judges had the fight even 113-113 and 114-114. Hopkins showed that at the age of 45, he is still one of the best light heavyweights and if he did not suffer any flash knock downs, he would have won the fight.

Pascal got schooled by a master and was lucky to survive a majority draw to keep his title. Hopkins has been one of the boxing best for decades but as he got older, the legend continues to grow.

He has proven to be one of boxing’s best pound for pound for the past two decades and he was hidden by the bright lights of others for many years but now after decades of being near or at the top, it could no longer be denied — Hopkins is one of the all-time greats.