What was Jean Pascal thinking tonight?
By Mark Young: Bernard Hopkins is not my favourite fighter by a country mile, I don’t like his persona and on many occasions I have found his fights boring and ugly to watch, but at 46 years old, he schooled Jean Pascal tonight. Pascal entered the ring with exactly the same plan he brought to the first fight with Bernard Hopkins and paid the price. Hopkins is now WBC light heavyweight champion of the world while Jean Pascal has just dropped his stock value considerably.
Pascal’s punch output was tragically low, the muscle bound Canadian seems to require long spells of rest between flurries and Bernard Hopkins capitalize on the breaks he took. Bernard at 46 was off of his stool first every time and even took time out to do some push ups while he waited for the bewildered French Canadian to get to his feet. Pascal typically landed the heavy punches, he won the first few rounds and even hurt Hopkins in the fourth round but didn’t follow up his work. Pascal hurt Hopkins again in the 12th and even knowing he was surely going to lose on points still managed to let his wounded opponent time to regain his composure.
From the fifth round onwards Hopkins managed to constantly land jabs and right hands to the point that that Pascal’s trainer even told Pascal to eat the first two punches so that he could get inside on the veteran fighter. From the fifth round onwards Pascal earned himself a master class in hitting and not getting hit. Twice Pascal could have had a knock down counted against him as he touched the canvass as a result of Hopkins right hand, both times were ruled a slip, though I think if the fight had taken place anywhere but Canada he would have found himself on the wrong side of two 10-8 rounds, consequentially the scorecards slightly smooth over the actual gap that clearly exists between these two fighters.
Bernard Hopkins summed up Pascal in a remarkably courteous victory speech acknowledging Pascals strength but pointing out his lack of finesse. Pascal needs to alter his training completely, I think he could seriously do with changing his trainer too, the advice coming from his corner as poor as the advice Arthur Abraham received during his beat down from Andre Ward, and trainer who suggests you lead with your face needs to go.
I half expected to hear Hopkins thank everyone after winning the title and retire from the sport of boxing as a HOF world champion, but he said he was interested in a handful of potential match ups, including another fighter loved by the Canadians, super middleweight Lucian Bute. I don’t think Bute will want anything to do with Hopkins after seeing how well he dealt with his fellow countryman, Bute has had a well managed career and hasn’t been fighting at the same level as his fellow super middle weight counterparts, so he will no doubt refrain form stepping up and fighting a wily veteran of the ring any time soon. Surprisingly Hopkins expressed a desire to continue fighting until he hits 50, and the way he’s going I don’t doubt he means it!.
I don’t know where Pascal goes from here, Chad Dawson is unlikely to be interested in fighting him, he will be trying to claim his former belt back from new holder Hopkins, Carl Froch had previously expressed a desire for a rematch with his former victim, though there seems to be no point now considering the big draw for the Englishman was Pascals WBC belt. Pascal suggest that he and Hopkins make a trilogy of things and have they another rematch, this is not needed, we all know who the better fighter is and to be honest seeing Pascal come into this fight having learned nothing from his previous bout with Hopkins he doesn’t deserve it. Pascal did sum up the fight acknowledging that he is a little green still and a young fighter which is a good sign, he claims he’s learned a lot from his encounters with the old war horse, but to be honest I don’t think he has, well not yet anyhow, maybe upon reflection he will draw something good from this loss.