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16,000 fans expected for Hopkins-Pascal II bout on Saturday night

By Eric Thomas: Saturday’s rematch between WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KO’s) and challenger Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KO’s) is expected to take place in front of a packed house of 16,000 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Most of those fans will be rooting for Pascal – the home fighter – to win and prevent Hopkins from breaking a record in their city by becoming the oldest fighter to ever win a world title in boxing.

Hopkins is 46, and is hoping he can break George Foreman’s record of having captured a world title at 45. Last time these two guys fought, Hopkins and Pascal fought to a disappointing 12 round draw last year. That decision pleased no one, least of all the World Boxing Council, who promptly ordered a rematch between the two. Pascal is a slight favorite to win tomorrow night, if that means anything.

It’s hard to pick Pascal after looking how badly he performed last time. If I were to pick anyone, I’d go with Hopkins. However, the crowd will be giving Pascal a lot of energy and you know how difficult it is for visiting fighters to win in Canada. If Pascal wins, it will probably be because he worked on the areas where he had problems last time out.

One specific area that Pascal can improve on is his work rate. He didn’t throw enough punches in the second half of the fight last time and ended up giving away a lot of rounds to Hopkins for lack of effort. Pascal was too busy loading up with single shots and looking to land sneaky shots.

Instead of doing that, he needed to be looking to throw a lot of fast short punches in mass quantities. That’s how Hopkins lost to Joe Calzaghe in 2008. Pascal has the better power and far better speed, but he’s not going to knock Hopkins out. He’s going to have to see the fight as a long grueling fight where he out-hustles Hopkins. You don’t beat him on throwing pot shots.

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