One More Time: Hopkins Eyes Pascal’s Title, History

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 5, 2011

New York, NY—The rematch between WBC light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) and Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 31 KOs) will commence from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on Saturday, May 21. The World Boxing Council ordered the highly anticipated return bout following a disputed 12-round draw that saw Hopkins taste the canvas twice in the early rounds. Many people believe that Hopkins did enough to beat on Pascal enough to eek-out a razor-thin decision.

A victory over Pascal will make Hopkins, at age 46, the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world championship.

“I wanted to go to Montreal and kick his ass again right in his own backyard,” Hopkins said at a recent press conference. “I know what a move like this means to legacy and going forward. It is just another motivation to start over to build my career; but a different motivation as I am older now too. For the last fight, I was 45; I am now 46 and I am trying to break George Foreman’s record, a record he set when he beat Michael Moorer for the heavyweight championship of the world, becoming the oldest fighter to fight and win a major title.”

Hopkins, who lost his professional debut in 1988 and didn’t win a world championship until his third attempt by knocking out Segundo Mercado in the seventh round of a 1995 rematch, has crafted himself a very nice resume that will steer him into the Hall of Fame someday.

A veteran of more than 25 world title fights, Hopkins set a world middleweight title record of having 20 consecutive successful defenses before moving up to light-heavyweight. To be able to catch Foreman, one of the hardest punchers in the history of the sport, as the oldest to ever win a world title would be tremendous.

Hopkins is highly motivated.

“In Quebec I changed the chanting for Pascal to ‘BHop,’” Hopkins stated. “Listen to the tape. It’s going to happen again. Trust me I am coming at him. I might go down but trust me I will get up and finish this fight. Just like a fireman, who I respect like crazy because they actually go to the fire to put it out. I am going to make the fight again and push him to the limits.”

At the Montreal press conference, Pascal dismissed Hopkins and accused him of being both a cheat and a thief.

“We know last time you tried to steal my belt,” Pascal said. “Well guess what, today [Montreal] I have brought a copy so you can have my belt-this one [WBC which Hopkins took], and this one [Ring which Hopkins took] and this one [IBO, which Hopkins did not take].”

Pascal added: “I think Hopkins is a cry baby and after the fight he kept crying. But also the fans asked how he could do this against me-beat me the way he did, why so aggressive.”

Hopkins and Pascal went to war during their first fight. It was an exciting fight in which Pascal dropped Hopkins twice in the early rounds. However, Hopkins fought and clawed his way back into action, as he dominated Pascal in the second-half of the bout. The judges scored the bout 114-114, 113-113, and 114-112 (Hopkins).

“He pretends that he won the fight,” Pascal said. “He’s always complaining. He’s always whining. I won the fight. It was a close fight, but I am not a whiner. You can never call a close fight a robbery. The judges said it was a draw. I took my pill and swallowed it.”

Pascal rambled on about how Hopkins’ ‘legacy.’

“Bernard calls himself a legend,” Pascal added. “He beat Roy Jones. Wow. We all know he couldn’t beat Roy Jones in his prime. He beat Tito Trinidad…great, he beat a smaller guy. He beat Oscar de la Hoya, a smaller man. He had a draw with Winky Wright, a man of his size. He got beaten twice by Jermain Taylor, a man of his size and he got a draw with me, a man of his size.”

Pascal added: “May 21 you better be on something because I’m gonna bust your ass.”

Hopkins isn’t trying to hear any of what Pascal has to say and promises to finish the job in the match.

“You are done boy!” Hopkins said. “You are not going to be able to do or get your way. I am going to beat you in your home. I’m coming here.Don’t be surprised if he [Pascal] dies in the ring in May. That is how I feel. I mean that. This isn’t hyping up a fight. This is not for any [expletive] press conference. Don’t be surprised if I kill him!”

“Dynasty II: Pascal vs. Hopkins,” a promotion of Groupe Yvon Michel Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions, will be televised live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing in the United States beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT. The fight will also be aired on pay-per-view in Canada.

Tickets for “Dynasty II: Pascal vs. Hopkins” are C$500, C$350, C$250, C$175, C$110, C$75, C$50 and C$35. Call (514) 790-2525 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (514) 790-2525 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or (877) 668-8269 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (877) 668-8269 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to purchase tickets. Also available online, people can log onto www.evenko.ca.

James Kirkland is an Action Hero

Undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KOs) was recently added to the upcoming “Action Heroes” HBO Pay-Per-View event presented by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. The event will occur live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, April 9. The Pay-TV telecast begins at 9 PM ET/6 PM/PT.

Kirkland will face former 154-pound titlist Nobuhiro Ishida (22-6-2, 7 KOs), 35, Osaka, Japan.

Following a two absence because of a recent prison stint, Kirkland, 27, Austin, Texas, now living in Las Vegas, knocked out Ashandi Gibbs in 34 seconds on March 5. The on March 18, Kirkland beat up Jhon Berrio within two rounds.

Prior to his absence, Kirkland was making some serious noise as a rising future contender. Currently riding an eight-bout knockout streak, Kirkland’s biggest wins occurred against Joel Julio and Brian Vera.

Ishida is a former WBA 154-pound champion (2009-10). He has never been stopped during his 11-years as a professional and is undefeated in 12 of his last 13 bouts.

It’s great to see Kirkland back in the ring, as busy as he has been. It was sad to see Kirkland disappear because, he’s a tough young fighter. He’s a hardnosed, in-your-face type of boxer-puncher. Kirkland has a serious demeanor, as he means business every time he steps inside the ring.

Kirkland-Ishida joins a stellar “Action Heroes” lineup. Marcos Rene Maidana challenges Erik Morales to a 12-round jr. welterweight bout in the main event. Robert Guerrero battles Michael Katsidis in what could be for the unified WBA/WBO lightweight championships. Paul Malignaggi vs. Jose Miguel Cotto in a welterweight fight.

“Action Heroes,” tickets are priced at $350, $250, $150, $75, $50 and $25 through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (800) 745-3000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, www.mgmgrand.com, and www.ticketmaster.com.