Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins better known as “X” became the oldest athlete to win a major sports championship Saturday night in Montreal, Canada, as he flawlessly executed his game plan on Jean Pascal to win the Light-Heavyweight Championship of the world. At age 46, Hopkins looked like a man ten years younger as he dictated the pace of the fight from the beginning.
Hopkins (52 – 5 – 2 – 32 KO’s) and Pascal (26 -2-1-16 KO’s), traded shots early with both fighters being hurt in the first three rounds. Then Hopkins began throwing his double-jab at Pascal’s body and set up the looping right hand that left Pascal looking for answers. Hopkins began taunting Pascal in the middle rounds to frustrate the former champion, and bait him into swinging wildly so that Hopkins could counter with his precision hook.
As the championship rounds unfolded, Pascal began to pick up his work-rate. In the twelfth round Pascal landed his best punch, a right hand that sent Hopkins spinning. As the crowd rose to their feet with excitement, Hopkins used his superior defensive skills to tie up and make Pascal hit nothing but air. As Michael Buffer announced the scores, Hopkins and Pascal exchanged pleasantries, both knowing the end result. All three judges scored the fight for Hopkins with scores of 116 – 112, 115 – 113, and 115 – 114. The crowd gave Hopkins a standing ovation having just seen history first hand. Never mind that it was Pascal’s hometown, more importantly, it was Hopkins night and he deserved everything that the crowd gave back to him.
When asked what was next, Hopkins replied “I’ve saved the best for last, and plan on fighting till I’m 50”. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, but with performances like the one he gave tonight, who is going to question or doubt Hopkins again? Certainly not this writer who predicted correctly that Hopkins would win a unanimous decision 116 – 112 (article titled “Hopkins/Pascal II”).
On the undercard, “Bad” Chad Dawson (30 – 1- 17 KO’s) defeated Adrian Diaconu (27 – 3 – 15 KO’s) by unanimous decision 118 – 110, 117 -111, and 116 – 112 respectively. Dawson the former champion who lost his title to Pascal in a controversial fight last August, was fighting for the first time under legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward’s tutelage. Both agreed that work is still needed, but Steward said that Dawson is only getting better and will be ready for Hopkins at the end of the year.
So to recap, Bernard Hopkins became the oldest athlete to win a major championship in the history of sports at 46-years-old. Cementing his HOF credentials even further and making us all believe that age is just a number if you live right, train hard, and believe in yourself. Bernard Hopkins, the epitome of greatness and the master of executing his game plan. Well done sir…..