Pascal: “I’m certain I am going to defeat him” [Hopkins]
By Dan Ambrose: World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KO’s) will be putting his title on the line against 45-year-old number #1 ranked WBO light heavyweight contender Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO’s) on December 18th at the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, in Quebec, Canada. Pascal, 27, will have the chance to put Hopkins out of his misery and hand him a crushing defeat. Hopkins will be turning 46 in January 2011, just one month after his fight with Pascal. Given how eroded Hopkins’ skills have looked in his last two fights against Enrique Ornelas and Roy Jones Jr., it’s likely he’s going to be in way over his head against the young, fast and powerful Pascal.
In an article at Vanguardia.com, Pascal says “Of course this is going to be a difficult fight. Bernard is one of the better fighters in the world, and will be a great challenge for me. This is going to mean a lot for my future. I give Bernard respect, because he is a great man and an excellent boxer, but I am fighting in my house. I am sure that I am going to defeat him.” I think Pascal is going to beat Hopkins a lot easier than he thinks.
Hopkins’ work rate has really dropped in his last two fights and he’s become a fighter that can’t seem to fight hard for more than 20 seconds without grabbing his opponents in a clinch. In his fight with Jones, Hopkins hit the deck from rabbit shots and low blows. It looked like Hopkins was taking rest breaks. That kind of thing may work some of the time, especially against Jones but not against a young fighter like Pascal. This fight won’t be in the United States, so if Hopkins wants to win it he’s going to have to work for it. I don’t know that he can at this point.
He was able to mug Jones on the inside, but it wasn’t that hard to do because Jones was like a statue in that fight and was incapable of throwing shots back at Hopkins. Pascal will be throwing a lot of punches and I don’t see Hopkins being able to deal with Pascal’s speed. This is going to be a huge mismatch, much worse than Pascal’s recent win over Chad Dawson. Pascal will beat Hopkins and then take on Dawson in a rematch next year. Pascal can’t afford to let pin him to the ropes and wrestle. That’s really Hopkins’ only chance at beating Pascal.