Pascal has to set a fast pace and make Hopkins look his age
By Dan Ambrose: Last time out WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KO’s) failed to fight smart and push the fight at the 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KO’s) in their 12 round draw last December. Pascal seemed to be under the mistaken impression that he could pick his spots and basically pot shot Hopkins and beat him in the same way that Pascal beat Chad Dawson.
However, Pascal quickly discovered that Hopkins wasn’t going to be turned away by an occasional blistering fast shot from Pascal and was going to keep coming forward to mug him on the inside. Pascal still could have gotten the better of Hopkins had he paid close attention to Hopkins’ loss to Joe Calzaghe in 2008.
Calzaghe showed the blue print in that fight how to beat the aging Hopkins and that was by throwing a lot of quick, light punches and aiming to set a really fast pace to wear how Hopkins. It worked, because Hopkins couldn’t keep up with Calzaghe and ended up using a number of stall tactics to try and slow the fight down to a crawl to his liking.
To Calzaghe’s credit, he wasn’t having any part of the delay tactics by Hopkins and kept pouring in shot after shot, not worrying about throwing with power. In the end, Calzaghe prevailed by a close 12 round decision victory. This is what Pascal has got to do because he won’t beat Hopkins by throwing pot shots or by standing on the outside to try and land an occasional punch.
Pascal has got to take the fight to Hopkins and set such a fast pace in the first six rounds that Hopkins will literally be clinging to him like a wet dishrag trying to slow the pace of the fight down. Hopefully, the referee is on his job and doesn’t let Hopkins turn the fight into an ugly punch and clinch affair. Even if Hopkins does attempt to grab after every shot, Pascal can still fight on the inside until they’re separated. The point is to keep throwing punches at all times until Hopkins runs out of gas.