Pascal in no-win situation against 45-year-old Hopkins on 12/18
By Jim Dower: WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KO’s) has a fight against 45-year-old Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO’s) on December 18th at the Pepsi Coliseum, in Quebec, Canada. Pascal, 28, is 17 years younger than Hopkins and much faster than him. Pascal is in the prime of his career right now with recent wins over Chad Dawson and Adrian Diaconu. For his part, Hopkins peaked as a fighter over 10 years ago and has been coasting downhill slowly, still doing will by picking and choosing his opponents carefully.
Hopkins has been able to extend his career much longer than normal fighters because he’s always been a fighter that depends on mugging his opponents on the inside to get the better of opponents with better hand speed, power and raw skills than him. Hopkins has added the clinch and grab technique to his already frustrating mugging style. Hopkins is quite good at slowing down a fight to a crawl by bullying his opponents into the ropes and focusing on being the first one to throw and then immediately grabbing them as soon as he lands or missed a shot. I
t’s whole different way of fighting because it takes away the ability of his opponent to fire back with anything before he’s grabbed by Hopkins. If his opponent tries to fight while being held by Hopkins, this plays into Hopkins style of fighting because he is very good at fighting in close and he’ll win those kinds of fights. The best way that you deal with a fighter like Hopkins to defeat his punch and grab style is to move constantly, throwing fast shots and try to be first with fast combinations.
You can’t stand in front of Hopkins because he’ll land his single shots and immediately grab for a clinch. He’s hard to beat and it’s going to be a fight that Pascal likely won’t look good in. It’s not that Pascal couldn’t make Hopkins look like an old man if the referee was doing his job and warning and penalizing Hopkins for his constantly clinching, but there probably isn’t any referees that are going to do that. Hopkins will be able to clinch as much as he pleases without being penalized. As such, Pascal will still win the fight because of his better hand speed, but it won’t be very impressive and he’ll take criticism afterwards for not dominating the 45-year-old Hopkins.
But the real reason Pascal won’t look good is because it’s a whole different type of boxing that Hopkins does. It’s kind of a spoiling way of fighting and it’s effective, but ugly. Ideally, a referee would warn, take points away and if need be disqualify Hopkins for the clinch and grab stuff, but that won’t he happening. Hopefully, Hopkins limits his clinching so the fight doesn’t end up being too much of a stinker, but I’m not counting on it.