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Hopkins vs. Pascal: Bernard says he’s going to “Dissect” Jean on 12/18

Bernard Hopkins Jean PascalBy Dan Ambrose: 45-year-old Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO’s) hopes to reach back into his old bag of tricks to pull off an upset win over WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1, 17 KO’s) on December 18th at the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Hopkins thinks that his superior experience will be the telling factor in this fight. He’s going to have to hope that’s the case, because Pascal has a lot of advantages over Hopkins in terms of youth, hand speed, and movement.

Hopkins has looked slow and limited in his last two fights against Roy Jones Jr. and Enrique Ornelas. The last fight in which Hopkins looked good was two years ago against the slow moving and predictable Kelly Pavlik. Pascal is a much different fighter than Pavlik, and this isn’t someone that Hopkins can mug on the inside the way the likes to do with opponents.

In an article at, Hopkins says “I get a chance to be the oldest fighter in history to win a title. I get to continue to make history. How many times can an athlete do that?”

Hopkins’ chances for success would be much better had he been staying active recently, but he only fought once in 2009 and thus far only once in 2010. For an old fighter like Hopkins to keep sharp and not lose his skills, he needs to have fought at least three to four times a year. He hasn’t been doing that, and it could be asking a lot of his aging body to beat a younger and faster fighter like Pascal.

“I am going to dissect this guy,” says Hopkins. “I am going to take him apart. Take him out of his comfort zone.”

Hopkins’ work rate against Ornelas and Jones wasn’t high. Hopkins mostly mugged on the inside and did a lot of wrestling and threw occasional pot shots. It wasn’t pretty. It was like a major effort for him to throw shots and he looked like he was laboring to throw. It kind of reminded me of an old car not firing on all cylinders. Hopkins would fight well for a short period of time, and then go back to looking awful by not throwing punches and just wrestling. That kind of thing worked against Ornelas and Jones, because neither of them had much to offer. But Pascal is in the prime of his career and he fights very smoothly and has no problems throwing combinations and power shots. He doesn’t need all the rest breaks that Hopkins appears to need at this state in his career.

Hopkins may resort to flopping around on the canvas for punches thrown near the beltline in this fight to buy time for him to get rest breaks. I think Hopkins is going to use a variety of stall tactics to try and rest whenever he can. This is what we’ve seen in his fights with Jones and Joe Calzaghe. I expect more of the same from him.

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