Tomorrow night in Montreal, Canada, Bernard “the Executioner” Hopkins (51 -5-2-32 KO’s) will be chasing history as he attempts to become the oldest athlete to win a major championship in the history of sports at age 46. His opponent Jean Pascal (26 –1 –1 -16 KO’s) the reigning light-heavyweight and Ring magazine champion of the world, has other ideas and plans to not let Hopkins place him on the wrong end of boxing history.
In case this is the first you’re reading about this fight, let me refresh your memory. Last December the pair squared off in the exact arena they are fighting in tomorrow night, and Hopkins who was a slight underdog, managed to get off the canvas twice in the first three rounds, only to give the 26-year- old Pascal a boxing lesson over the next eight rounds to fight to a controversial draw (even though many in the arena including this writer scored the fight 114 – 112 for Hopkins). Not to mention that Pascal is from Montreal, adding more controversy to an already poor decision rendered by the judges. So a rematch was ordered for May 21, 2011, and Hopkins and Pascal II is on.
So now that we are all up to date and on the same page, let’s break this fight down. Hopkins is 46 years old, but he is a young 46. He has never been knocked out in his career; he is a defensive fighter meaning he is cautious and only makes calculated risks in the ring. He also doesn’t party, get out of shape, drink alcohol, take drugs or eat unhealthy. So the evidence shows that Hopkins is a young 46 and will be ready to go toe to toe with the 26 –year- old Pascal. I give Pascal a slight edge in power because he was able to drop Hopkins twice in their last fight, although many believe the second knockdown was a slip. The big question will be whether or not the young Pascal has studied the fight film and figured out what adjustments he needs to make in order to be successful in the ring on Saturday night?
Hopkins is a true student of the “Sweet Science”, and is one of the craftiest defensive fighters of all-time. He will have definitely figured out from the tape why Pascal was able to drop him twice in the fight, and he has tasted Pascal’s speed and power already, and was still able to out-box him over the last eight rounds of the fight. Not to mention that Hopkins confidence is sky-high, which is always a bad sign for his opponents.
Prediction: I see Pascal starting fast, hoping to capitalize on his youth and bombard Hopkins in the first three rounds. Hopkins will use his “philly-shell” defensive style to absorb most of Pascal’s shots, while looking to use precise counter-punching to off-set Pascal’s charge. In the middle rounds, Hopkins will begin to walk down the younger Pascal and look to test his internal fortitude. Pascal sensing that he is losing the crowd will stand his ground in the middle of the ring, giving fight fans a fantastic give and take fight. However, in the late rounds I see Hopkins using his defense and boxing skills to smoother, frustrate, and counter Pascal’s attempts at retaining his belt as we go to the scorecards for a decision…
This time no confusion as Michael Buffer announces “AND NEW CHAMPION of the WORLD, Bernard “the Executioner” Hopkins 116 – 112, solidifying his status as one of the greatest fighters of all-time and the oldest athlete to become a world champion. And who says life’s over after 40???