The ‘old man’ does it again

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 21, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs), looking to become the oldest boxer to ever win a world championship, rallied from two knockdowns to dominate WBC light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) en route to a 12-round majority draw at the Pepsi Centre in Quebec, Canada this past Saturday.

The judges scored the bout 114-112 for Hopkins, 113-113, and 114-114 even.

Hopkins, who turns 46 in January, would have become the oldest fighter to win a world title belt – George Foreman was 45 years old when he knocked out Michael Moorer to become the oldest heavyweight champion in November 1994.

The knockdowns that occurred in both rounds one and three were scored as 10-8 rounds for Pascal. The two knockdowns proved to be the difference in the fight. Without having either one knockdown or even a decisive knockout of Pascal, it proved to be a monumental task for Hopkins to win a decision.

Having to overcome two knockdowns and a terrible deficit, Hopkins found himself trailing 30-25, 30-26, and 29-26 on all three judges scorecards after three rounds.

It appeared as though Hopkins surpassed the colossal task of having to rally past a younger, fresher, and faster champion.

Hopkins won seven of the final nine rounds on the judges’ scorecards 10-9.

Hopkins even swept the last four rounds (40-36) on two of the three official judges’ scorecards.

“I tried to push the fight, push the fight to the last round, to clear from anybody’s head that I was behind,” Hopkins was quoted. “I was just getting my third wind. . . . We saw a young guy running from an old grandpa.”

Pascal, 28, from Canada, via Haiti, should be lucky to have walked out of that ring with his world title belt intact. Pascal looked strong in dropping Hopkins with a single punch in rounds one and three.

Pascal fought a brave and spirited twelfth and final round, as he went toe-to-toe with Hopkins. However, Pascal made so many mistakes that Hopkins was able to capitalize on.

Hopkins took advantage of the fact Pascal kept giving away too much room. He kept moving back and lunged punches at Hopkins. Pascal kept his hands at his chest.

Hopkins was intelligent enough to move forward and push the left-jab at Pascal’s face and chest. Hopkins ducked, weaved, and blocked a lot of Pascal’s rangy punches. Hopkins countered with hooks to the body and timed Pascal well with left-jab counters.

Hopkins took advantage of the reality of Pascal doing more moving than fighting. Hopkins cut the ring off, applied pressure, and initiated the action. He was hurting Pascal with stiff right hooks to the body and even trapped the champion in a corner during plenty of occasions.

Hopkins was even willing to fight Pascal ‘toe-to-toe’ and even landed the cleaner and more effective punches. Those fast and rapid flurries Pascal threw at Hopkins did little or no damage.

Pascal was too rangy, inactive, and simply didn’t throw enough punches to outwork Hopkins. Hopkins took more risks, applied more pressure, and should have won the decision after 12 rounds.

The two knockdowns clearly saved Pascal’s title reign. Pascal won the WBC 175-pound title in June 2009 having outpointed Adrian Diaconu through 12 rounds.

In a rematch six months afterward, Pascal fought more than half the bout with a dislocated right shoulder that had to be pushed back into place three times during the bout.

Pascal defeated Diaconu on points once more.

More than eight months later, Pascal fought the fight of his career against Chad Dawson. Pascal looked like Muhammad Ali and nearly stopped Dawson in an entertaining fight, but settled for a 11-round technical decision win after an accidental clash of heads.

Overall, Pascal has made four defenses of the WBC title.

While there is a rematch clause for another bout with Dawson, the fight everyone wants to see is a second bout with Hopkins.

Just not in Canada.

PHOTO CREDITS: Tim Snow – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions