There are three other world-ranked fighters, however, who feel the wily veteran with 57 career professional fights will have enough to dethrone Pascal.
“I think just being in Canada really helps Pascal and that will be the difference,“ said Johnson, like Hopkins a member of the 40-and-over club. “It’s going to be great fight and very close and based on the crowd’s reaction, Pascal wins. I really think this has the chance to be the fight of the year.“
Hopkins knocked out Johnson back in 1997 to win the IBF middleweight title.
Current WBC and WBO No. 3-ranked welterweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sees things differently and believesHopkins’ experience will win out. “Hopkins will win because he’s too experienced and tricky for Jean,” he said.
Froch, who beat Pascal for the WBC super middleweight world title at the end of 2008 by decision in Nottingham, England, said Pascal is his choice, but not just because he beat him. “The obvious would be to declare that Jean Pascal is going to win. Because I have the victory over him, it would make my record even better if I could state that a guy that I beat, went on to beat Hopkins, but that would be cynical and easy to spot. The reality is that I want Jean Pascal to win this fight and I think he can. Pascal is on the way up and Hopkins, while not really on the way down, has definitely hit a ceiling with regards to work rate.“
The age-defying Hopkins won the World Middleweight title on SHOWTIME in 1995 and successfully defended it 20 times, solidifying his place as one of the most prolific 160-pound world champions in history.
The 27-year-old Pascal, who was just 5 years old when Hopkins turned pro in 1988, is hoping to start a dynasty of his own. This will be the fourth defense of the WBC crown for the popular local favorite and his first of his Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Championship.
Here are what the four Super Six semifinalists and other fighters think about the Pascal vs. Hopkins matchup:
Super Six No. 1 seeded Andre Ward (no pick): “I think it could be a very entertaining fight. Bernard is trying to put an exclamation point on a great career and his legacy. Jean is trying to establish his legacy by beating a legend in Bernard so this fight has a great storyline. I have no prediction because I consider both of them friends, and I’m going to sit back and enjoy this fight as a fan."
Super Six No. 2 seeded Carl Froch (Pascal): "I think Jean Pascal will take this on points. I think the wily fox has a few gray whiskers now and he may be cute in the opening rounds, but Jean Pascal's sheer will to win can be what seals the deal.”
"If you add in the fantastic Canadian boxing fans -- all screaming their lungs out for whatever Pascal does in every round -- then it's going to be a very big ask for Hopkins to pull it off.”
"But how many times have people written wonderful old Bernard off? How many times has Bernard proved everybody wrong? That is what makes this fight so interesting. I can't wait to see both men get it on from ringside, but right now, I'm going for a close victory for Pascal. "
Former Junior Welterweight World Champion Paulie Malignaggi (Hopkins): “This is a very tough fight to call. Bernard has the opportunity to do something special and become the oldest world champ in history. Pascal is younger and brings a high energy level, plus the crowd backing him will motivate him a lot. I think this will be a close fight with Bernard definitely frustrating Pascal in spurts and with Pascal having success as well while pushing Hopkins to fight at a pace faster than he would like. I honestly think it will be very close and I think Bernard will get the decision up there.”
Super Six No. 3 Seeded Glen Johnson (Pascal): “It’s hard for me to give a definite answer on who is going to win based on what I saw when Hopkins fought Roy Jones. I guess I would have to pick Pascal. But if a better Hopkins shows up, then I have to go with Hopkins because Pascal is a guy who starts strong but fades after five or six rounds. The question is, if Hopkins will be able to take advantage of that. If I had to pick someone, I would say Pascal because he is fighting at home.”
Former Super Bantamweight World Champion Israel Vazquez (Hopkins): "Hopkins will win by decision. He has the most experience."
Super Six No. 4 seeded Arthur Abraham (Pascal): "Pascal will win because he is young and fast. Hopkins is not the same fighter he used to be, but he is and will always be a legend for me!"
Former WBC Junior Middleweight World Champion Sergio Mora (Hopkins): “I think Hopkins is something special and special fighters find a way to win when people feel they can't. Pascal is young, strong and hungry, he reminds me of a bigger Andre Berto. But like Berto, Pascal hasn't faced a quality opponent. He especially hasn’t faced a legend like Bernard. Hopkins by decision.”
"Dynasty: Pascal vs. Hopkins" is promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions and presented by the Casino de Montreal, The City of Québec Tourism, Coors Light and Videotron. In addition to airing live on SHOWTIME, the event will be distributed live on pay-per-view in Canada on Canal Indigo, Bell TV, Shaw TV and Viewer's Choice in French and English at 7:00 p.m. ET.
In doing research, I was looking at YouTube clips of fights toward the end of his majestic run, and I came across a clip of the Ali-Richard Dunn fight. Dunn was a no-hoper Brit, but Dick Enberg and Joe Garagiola were portraying him as someone who stood a chance of taking down Ali. Every time he lost, which was pretty often, his final mark reads 33-12, Dunn got stopped. But Enberg and Garagiola had a narrative to present, and accuracy wasn't necessarily part of that parcel. Young(ish) Larry Merchant joined the two, and back then, in May 1976, Larry was Larry. He made it clear that Ali would eat up the Yorkshire man, like pudding, and shook his head, making clear his stance, when Enberg and Garagiola played up the chances of the mega-underdog.
I cracked up, because I saw that Larry has always been Larry. He doesn't shrink from offering his opinion, even if it veers from the accepted storyline.
HBO's poet laureate chatted with TSS on Wednesday, and offered us his trademark brand of candor. The first topic we discussed was Bernard Hopkins: would the old man finally look like an old man, not a genuine athletic aberration in an age where aberrations are nearly always grounds for suspicion (re: suspicion of PED use)?
"I think Bernard is capable of making it a very rough fight," said Merchant of the Saturday night showdown in Canada pitting Hopkins against hometowner Jean Pascal, which runs on Showtime. "I think Pascal, who is favored, is capable of beating Bernard. But Bernard has a way of negating his opponents' strengths. He does that better than anyone. He has a way of stinking out the joint, and trying to have us think he's spraying perfume."
So, will he be the skunk wrecking Pascal's party on Saturday?
"If I had to bet, I'd bet the younger guy, highly motivated, the guy fighting at home."
Agreed..I've seen slippage in Hopkins in his last two fights, and though Pascal isn't in his league, peak versus peak, he will be able to out-busy (is that a word? It is now, LOL) Bernard and perhaps inject some ugly reality into Hopkins of the variety Ali felt in the Bahamas in 1981. Then again, we'd not be surprised if he pulled it off; as Richard Schaefer has said, you'd be a fool to bet against Bernard.
Merchant also weighed in on the topic of Pacquiao, his next foe, and the likelihood that Shane Mosley, at 39 waaay past his prime, and 2-2-1 in his last five outings, will get the gig.
Will the public buy Mosley as a plausible foe, I asked Merchant?
"How about Pacquiao against Clottey, is that sellable?" he answered rhetorically. "Pacquiao is one of those guys to transcend boxing. A certain number of people will watch his next fight, regardless of who he's fighting. He's critic proof, no matter what you say about an opponent who (may not be worthy). His fights are an event, the way you used to think of the heavyweight division. I saw Beyonce talking about Pacquiao on TV, how he carries himself!"
So, is he down with Mosley getting the nod as the next lottery winner, er, opponent for the Congressman?
"In my view I think Marquez has earned the shot, and it's interesting that they've moved the date to Cinco de Mayo," he said. "The narrative is there, the story of the first two fights, and his last two fights, that said, it doesn't mean it would be the best fight. But in terms of narrative, hey Marquez is more fun for everybody. But after the bell rings, you don't know."
Merchant offered some inside dope on Team Manny. "I can tell you that inside the Pacquiao camp, they think Mosley is the most dangerous of the three foes on the short list (Marquez, Mosley, Andre Berto)."
Merchant asked me what I thought Mosley vs Katsidis would look like, to compare the worth of Mosley and Katsidis. Marquez as we know stopped Katsidis in round nine on Nov. 27. I told him I thought Mosley was just about fully shot. "In my mind, Mosley would stop Katsidis, and maybe Marquez too," Merchant said. "When guys come straight to him, he can still fight."
Interesting point; in his last two outings, both quite subpar, Mosley faced cuties, Mayweather and Sergio Mora. That didn't play to his strengths, it could be argued.
Merchant says we shouldn't really factor in his lack of effectiveness against Mora, as "Mora is a stinkout artist."
"It's a given a veteran fighter can look ten years younger against a guy who comes at him, and ten years older against a mover," the analyst said, while acknowledging the frustration of fans who share my take, that Mosley can't transfer his still considerable will into a performance that will test Manny.
Ah, but Pacquiao can make a guy look like a 12 year old who just tried on the gloves for the first time, or a 60 year old better suited for a leisurely stroll on a treadmill than a severe test against the hurricanesque Filipino.
Larry still gives the California based vet a shot, if he gets the slot. "If Mosley can take a shot as good as Margarito, and he always had a great jaw, he still has more weapons than Margarito. That's their (the promoters' and Team Pacquiao's) thinking.
Word to the wise...Ali's ability to take a punch was cited by most everyone who gave him a hint of chance against Holmes in 1980. And we all know how that went..
Happy holidays, Larry, thanks for taking the time to share your opinions and knowledge with TSS Universe.
It's looking like May 7 Pacquiao will lace 'em up again, and it looks like Shane Mosley has the inside track on the waltz with the Congressman. Fight fans haven't warmed up to the idea of Manny-Mosley, understandable since Sugar Shane has lost all semblance of the sweetness of skills which made him a pound for pounder back around the year 2000.
But from a business perspective, what Mosley has left in the tank just doesn't much matter. So he's 2-2-1 in his last five, and has shown signs that he is close to shot, to the state where he can see an opening, his brain tells him it's there and tells him to "fire," but his body rebels. We all know that the best promoters in the business, Top Rank, could at this point put Manny in against Editor Mike, and do half a million pay per view buys.
Manny turns 32 on Friday, and word is he'll pick from Mosley, Marquez (who is said to be seeking too much dough and has a fatal flaw in that he's promoted by Golden Boy) and Andre Berto, who cannot boast much in the name recognition department, and likely will not secure the gig.
TSS-EM shot the bull on Wednesday afternoon with Manny Steward, the Hall of Fame trainer/manager who handles Wladimir Klitshcko, and Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto. When EM used the "s" word--shot--in regards to Mosley, Manny just about cringed on the phone.
"I guess he is, I didn't want to say that," he said. "People ask how can Top Rank sell Manny-Mosley, they will because it has Pacquiao in it. Every once in awhile you get it where the one fighter is everything, like with Tyson. The opponent doesn't matter."
Ah, but it does if you seek to see the best fighting the best, if you seek what is best for the longterm health of the sport. But capitalism and the longterm health of the sector being mined don't often interesect, do they?
Steward told us that reports that Cotto-Vanes Martirosyan being a done deal is premature. Soon, Team Cotto will pick from among a group of four guys, Martirosyan, Cornelius Bundrage, Pawel Wolak and Saul's brother Rigoberto Alvarez, for Miguel's next scrap. Steward didn't offer his choice for foe. But he did get points from TSS when he refused to lobby for a Manny-Cotto rematch immediately.
Is the presence of Steward in Cotto's corner enough, I asked, to sell Pacquiao-Cotto II, enough for us to see Cotto having more luck this time around?
"Not off one fight," said the Kronk king. "Not off the one fight in June against Yuri Foreman. He needs a couple fights to make the public agree."
The public definiteively would like to see Manny's heavyweight, Wladimir Klitschko, shut the mouth of punkass poseur David Haye. Wlad was due to take on Dereck Chisora on Dec. 11, but pulled out with a stomach injury. Haye has flirted with both Brothers K for the last two years, and has disappeared when the going got too heavy, and a deal was imminent. Now, Steward says, he may have no choice but go through with it. "He has no choice," Manny said. "In his own country, they're turning against him."
I won't pretend objectivity here. Haye went far as he paraded the image of beheaded Klitschkos and he went too damned far for me when he promised foe Audley Harrison would be tortured like a victim of a gang rape before the two met Nov. 13. His trash talk and behavior isn't merely in bad taste; it crosses the line, and I hope that Klitschko, properly motivated after Haye so affronted his mom with the sick image, pummels some humility into the Brit. Steward thinks Wlad will show a nasty side that doesn't emerge too often. "You'll see an attitude like when Chris Byrd's people pissed him off," he said. "He wanted to really eff Chris up."
Starting Monday, Dec. 27 at midnight, HBO Sports will replay seven major league showdowns from this year over four consecutive nights. HBO viewers will get to revisit the most memorable, most significant and most compelling bouts that were televised on the HBO service, including a tripleheader on Tuesday, Dec. 28 that features two dramatic wins by middleweight star Sergio Martinez and the first-ever boxing event at the new Yankee Stadium.
The “Boxing’s Best” lineup includes:
Monday, Dec. 27 at 12:00 a.m. -- Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley
Monday, Dec. 27 at 1:00 a.m. -- Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana
Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 11:00 p.m. -- Kelly Pavlik vs. Sergio Martinez
Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 12:00 a.m. -- Sergio Martinez vs. Paul Williams II
Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 12:20 a.m. -- Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto
Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 12:00 a.m. -- Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis
Thursday, Dec. 30 at 11:00 p.m. -- Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito
All times are ET/PT.
*Winner’s names are in italics.
This series of “Boxing’s Best” will be available on HBO ON DEMAND®
It is hard to have a split decision loss when I thought I won. But now looking back at it, some people thought Abner won, some people thought I won, and a lot of people thought it was a draw. All I know is that I fought a great fighter who fought a great fight and I fought a great fight. That’s what happens when everyone you speak to says it was a war in the ring and a great fight and everyone has a different opinion on who won. I am angry that I lost but I am not angry at Abner Mares. Abner was respectful to me from start to finish. I am just angry that I allowed the fight to get to stage where it was so close.
We had a great fight and I hope in the near future we can fight again. It was good to fight Abner. I think Abner is a lot like me -- risking everything for our fans. Our fans wouldn't want to see us fighting bums like other fighters do. We didn’t have to fight each other and the same goes for King Kong Agbeko and Yonnhy Perez. We are here for our fans and without them we would be nowhere.
I can’t wait to fight Perez, I know it’s going to be a war and I know I won’t make the same mistake again and leave my fate in the hands of the judges. I will make sure to go out and finish the job I started.
Zewski, Quillin, Desjardins and Alicea Round Out Night of Boxing In Front of Sold Out Crowd at the Pepsi Coliesum
Quebec City, Canada (December 14) - Before future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins he faces WBC, Ring Magazine and IBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal on December 18 live on SHOWTIME® in the U.S. and pay-per-view in Canada, a squad of undefeated locals featuring Kevin Bizier, Michael Zewski, Pier-Olivier Cote and Eric Martel-Bahoeli, will join standout fighters including former Junior Welterweight World Champion Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi, highly-regarded contender Daniel "The Golden Child" Jacobs and unbeaten New Yorker Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin as they face off in respective bouts in front of an expected sold out arena of more than 16,000 fans at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, bringing some heat to the Great White North. If that wasn't enough, there's more with British heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury also appearing.
One of boxing's most charismatic figures, Paulie Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KO's) has thrilled fight fans with his fast hands and brash antics for nearly a decade. Now making his ring debut as a Golden Boy Promotions fighter, he's looking for another world championship belt. A former Junior Welterweight World Champion, Malignaggi has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz (twice), Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton, Amir "King" Khan, Lovemore "Black Panther" N'dou and Miguel Cotto, but the 30-year-old from Brooklyn believes the best is yet to come.
In the opposite corner from Malignaggi will be 27-year-old Michael Lozada (36-6-1, 29 KO's), a power- punching resident of Mexico City who has won seven of his last eight bouts, with each win coming by way of knockout and his lone loss coming at the hands of rising star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Malignaggi and Lozada will battle in a ten-round welterweight fight which will be featured on the Canadian pay-per-view broadcast.
26-year-old Saint-Emile native Kevin Bizier (12-0, 8 KO's) has been moving full steam ahead since turning professional in 2008, and after back-to-back knockouts of Johnny Navarrete and Leonardo Rojas he's ready to showcase his talents to fans both at the Pepsi Coliseum and across Canada on the pay-per-view broadcast this Saturday night. Bizier will go for his third KO in a row when he steps into the ring to face Oklahoma City's Ronnie Warrior (13-3-1, 4 KO's) in an eight round welterweight contest.
Top middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs (20-1, 17 KO's) showed a warrior's heart when he faced Dmitry Pirog in a WBO World Title bout in July shortly after the passing of his beloved grandmother. Although he suffered his first professional defeat that night, the gifted Brooklynite has picked himself up, dusted himself off and looks to close out 2010 in style when he takes on Dallas' Jesse Orta (7-13-2, 4 KO's) in an eight-round super middleweight bout.
One of Canada's top heavyweight prospects, Eric Martel-Bahoeli (5-0, 3 KO's) is looking toward a big 2011, but first, he must close out his 2010 campaign with a four round clash against Bayamon, Puerto Rico's Ruben Rivera (3-4, 1 KO's).
Manchester, England's Tyson Fury (12-0, 9 KO's) is a certified star in his home country, and in only his second fight off of British shores, he's looking to make an impression when he squares off against Galen Brown (33-15, 20 KO's) of St. Josephs, Missouri in the evening's opening pay-per-view fight. An exciting two-fisted banger, Fury won the BBBofC English heavyweight title in 2010 with a ninth round stoppage of John McDermott and he'll be looking for his fourth win of the year this weekend.
No stranger to fighting on big undercards, Quebec City's Pier-Olivier Cote (13-0, 8 KO's) will return to the Pepsi Coliseum for the third time as a professional to face Mexico City's Cesar Soriano (21-25, 13 KO's) in a six-round lightweight contest. One of Canada's top prospects, the 26-year-old is coming off a sixth round knockout of Walter Sergio Gomez in October, his fourth victory of 2010.
A proud native of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, 21-year-old Mikael Zewski first came to the attention of the boxing world during a stellar amateur career that saw him compile a 138-29 record that included four Canadian National Championships. Now 5-0 as a professional with three knockouts and a recent decision win over Ardrick Butler in November, Zewski is ready for his four-round junior middleweight bout against a yet-to-be-named opponent in front of his fans in Quebec.
Unbeaten in 21 professional fights, Brooklyn's Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (21-0, 15 KO's) pays tribute to his Cuban heritage and legendary namesake each time he steps into the ring by delivering an all out effort in search of victory. A versatile pugilist, Quillin returned from a nearly two year layoff due to injury with a near shutout decision win over Fernando Zuniga in February. He will take on Quebec's Martin Desjardins (7-18-4, 3 KO's) in a ten round super middleweight fight.
Owner of multiple National Championships during a stellar 143-16 amateur career that also saw him ranked number one in the United States as a Junior Olympian in 2007, Cleveland's junior middleweight Eduardo Alicea will travel to Canada to make his long-awaited professional debut on December 18 in a four round contest against an opponent to be determined.
# # #
"Dynasty: Pascal vs. Hopkins" is promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions and presented by the Casino de Montreal, The City of Québec Tourism, Coors Light and Videotron. The 12-round world championship fight will take place December 18 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Québec City, Canada and will be televised live on SHOWTIME in the United States at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast) and distributed live on pay-per-view in Canada on Canal Indigo, Bell TV, Shaw TV and Viewer's Choice in French and English at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Tickets for Pascal vs. Hopkins, priced starting at C$25 are on sale now at Pepsi Coliseum Box Office, by calling 418-691-7211 or 1-800-900-SHOW or online at www.billetech.com. Also available at Club de Boxe Champion 514-376-0980 and Groupe Yvon Michel Inc. 514-383-0666.
Someone who can dent trains with a left hook and who runs marathons before breakfast. An “S” on his chest would help.
Seems like Manny Pacquiao hasn’t broken a sweat in or outside the ring since his high school prom. Picking an opponent for him is like throwing a cattle rustler into the hands of a lynch mob.
“Yeah, that’s the hombre who stole my cows and kicked my dog. Quick, grab him. We‘re gonna throw him in there with Pacquiao.”
Ask Freddie Roach who he wants his fighter to face next and he’ll tell you he’d like to see Pacquiao fight WBC middleweight champ Sergio Martinez.
It’s a smart pick and maybe the only one out there.
Martinez is coming off a stunning win over Paul Williams and his name is starting to be heard around water coolers, loading docks and in saloons.
His win over Williams was one of those fights that quickly turned into a mugging. It was on cable TV, but if you didn’t see it, close your eyes and picture an unsuspecting guy who suddenly gets clobbered by a wild haymaker thrown in a crowded pool hall. Williams never saw it coming, but neither did anyone else. I’m not even sure Martinez knew he threw it.
The punch landed flush and if Williams ever takes another shot like that, he should seriously consider a change in careers, maybe to the food and beverage industry or law enforcement. I‘m guessing Williams is still counting stars.
And lost opportunities.
So what about Martinez? He’s beaten or almost beaten some pretty good guys recently and has looked real good doing it. He also has that growing reputation, and if you promote fights for a living, you can’t ask for much more.
Plus, Martinez is big. Bigger than lightweight Juan Manuel Marquez, who was lobbying for a third fight against Pacquiao.
Sorry, Juan. Won’t happen. Pacquiao is closer to middleweight than lightweight.
“I’d like to see (Pacquiao) fight Martinez at the right weight,“ Roach told the media recently. “Martinez at the right weight I think can be the most exciting fight out there.“
So what is the right weight for Pacquiao and Martinez? Whatever that weight is, they better decide on it pretty quick. At his present growth rate, Pacquiao will be calling out heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek by Christmas 2011.
According to Roach, Pacquiao has already sent his sympathies and best wishes to the suddenly forgotten junior-welterweight division.
I can just hear Roach now: “It’s all yours, boys. We’re looking for bigger and better things. Hopefully, we’ll find them somewhere around 150 pounds.“
If Martinez isn’t available for Pacquiao, Popeye with a few cans of spinach would be a good opponent. They just have to break Popeye’s cartoon-character clause.
Unfortunately, Popeye is more likely to fight Pacquiao than Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is almost a cartoon character in his own right.
Court-appointed dates on Mayweather‘s busy legal calendar will keep him too tied up to think about fighting. The only battles Mayweather is training for are with opposing attorneys and the mother of his kids.
Too bad. Fifty years ago, Pacquiao and Mayweather would have already fought each other three or four times. It could have been the stuff of LaMotta and Robinson; Sadler and Pep; Ali and Frazier.
In back-to-back weeks, fight fans saw two of the most violent and riveting bouts of the year.
Can WBC light heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins make it three weeks in a row of “fight of the year” potential boxing?
Ageless Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) plans to implement his encyclopedia of boxing knowledge to topple the “new kid on the block” Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday Dec. 18, at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada. Showtime will televise the event.
Last weekend we saw Amir Khan stave off the hard charges of Marcos Maidana in an edge-of-your-seat performance before a small crowd in Las Vegas. The weekend before it was Humberto Soto withstanding a barrage of body blows by Urbano Antillon that would have deflated the Goodyear blimp. That fight also was fought before a small audience.
Pascal and Hopkins will fight in front of more than 16, 000 rabid Canadian fight fans. But it may not be the action-packed fare of the previous two weeks. It will be a combination of classic boxing art versus amped up aggression.
You see, Hopkins is not your ordinary pugilist. Not at all.
If Hopkins were an actor he would be more like Laurence Olivier than Charlie Chaplin. He’d be more Kenneth Branagh than Errol Flynn. The Philadelphia boxer is more wine than beer though he doesn’t drink.
Watching Hopkins perform is like dissecting a play of Shakespeare. There are many moments within those moments. He’s an expert at slowing down the pace and creating pauses that make both opponents and audience wonder: how does he do it?
Now if Pascal were an actor he’d be more like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Vin Diesel. The Haitian born prizefighter is like an action star with blood pumping performances that accent physicality and aggressiveness. The eye is pumped full of visuals.
This Saturday’s matinee will essentially be Macbeth versus MacGruber.
“It’s going to basically come down to who has the smarter and the best plan,” said Hopkins during a conference call. “At the end of the night it’s not going to be who is young.”
At 45, Hopkins seeks to break George Foreman’s record as the oldest to win a world title. The former heavyweight great accomplished the feat in 1994 at age 45 too when he beat Michael Moorer for the world title. If Hopkins wins he’ll have bested Foreman by nine days.
“I feel it would be a great accomplishment to beat George Foreman’s record by nine days,” said Hopkins, who added that he speaks to Foreman. “I didn’t know about that. But once it was brought to me I could understand the value.”
Ever since losing back-to-back fights to Jermain Taylor in 2005, Hopkins has embarked on a mission to beat fighters who were deemed beyond his ability. In 2006 it was Antonio Tarver who was surprised by the crafty veteran. In 2007 Winky Wright took his lumps. After losing a close decision to Joe Calzaghe in April 2008, power punching Kelly Pavlik made the mistake of stepping in the ring with Hopkins.
“I’ve been known to ruin careers,” Hopkins said of his vanquished foes. “They’ve seen the evidence that I left behind.”
Pascal simply chuckles at Hopkins diatribes.
“Honestly, I know that Hopkins has some tricks for me. But right now I’m going to prepare for anything. We’ll see what will happen,” said Pascal who was born in Haiti but now lives in Quebec. “Bernard is a smart guy, a smart fighter. The thing is that people don’t know he does the same thing over and over. I saw some things that I can exploit.”
The last time Pascal was defeated came against England’s Carl Froch in a back and forth struggle between two similar type boxers. Then Pascal moved up to the light heavyweight division and found success in capturing the world title in that division.
Few paid attention to Pascal despite winning the world title until he defeated Chad Dawson last August. None were willing to meet the Canadian in his home country where one-sided decisions and bad refereeing are common. None except Hopkins.
“If I’m going to fight out of the country I’d rather fight in Canada,” says Hopkins adding that the fight will be televised to a worldwide audience. “There was tremendous interest all over Canada to get this fight.”
After Saturday night what will the boxing academy see?
Will it be Macbeth or MacGruber? Fights on television
“This was a very wise decision that has been made by our board of governors,” Sulaiman told TheSweetScience.com. “The Super Bowl is the biggest event in football and the WBC is the biggest name in boxing. The next Super Bowl will be paid – excuse me, I meant to say played – in Cowboys Stadium on February 6th. Now, we will put the WBC and the Super Bowl together, and a coveted green belt will be given to each member of the winning team.”
“This will be for the good of boxing and for the good of football,” Sulaiman added. “For this reason, we have decided to cut the sanctioning fee that we will ask of the NFL from our normal three percent to a flat fee of three million pesos. It is my dream that, someday, the baseball World Series, the Masters tournament in golf, the Indianapolis 500 automobile race, and all other great sporting events will take place under the supervision of the WBC. Perhaps someday at the Olympics, each winner will be given a green belt instead of a gold medal. I know that the Olympic athletes would like that.”
* * *
WBC president Jose Sulaiman announced today that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will fight Mexican legend Erik Morales in February for the WBC heavyweight championship at a catchweight of 161 pounds.
“The WBC Board of Governors has decided to return Vitali Klitschko to his status as heavyweight champion emeritus,” Sulaiman told a news conference in Mexico City. “To be the WBC heavyweight champion emeritus is one of the greatest honors in boxing. This means that the WBC heavyweight championship is now vacant. The WBC championship committee in its wisdom has decided that Chavez and Morales should fight for the coveted green belt. For the first time in history, whoever wins, the heavyweight champion of the world will be from Mexico.”
During a question-and-answer session following the announcement, a reporter questioned why Chavez and Morales were fighting for the WBC heavyweight championship, given the fact that Chavez has never fought above 160 pounds and Morales has fought above 135 pounds only twice in his life.
In response, Sulaiman declared, “Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito fought for the WBC 154-pound championship and neither man was allowed to weigh-in above 150 pounds. Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams fought for the WBC 160-pound championship and neither man was allowed to weigh-in above 158 pounds. This is the same principle, and I am a man of principle.”
* * *
The WBC board of governors announced today that WBC president Jose Sulaiman has been given the additional titles of Super-President, Super-Duper President, Silver President, Gold President, Platinum President, Diamond President, President Emeritus, and President for Life.
“They also offered to make me Interim President,” Sulaiman acknowledged. “But interim I do not like.”
* * *
WBC president Jose Sulaiman announced today that the World Boxing Council has a new weight division.
“This is a very good day for boxing,” Sulaiman told a media gathering in Mexico City. “I have devoted my life to making boxing a fair sport. But the way the sport is now, some fighters are at a disadvantage because they are really light-heavyweights but, because they weigh over two hundred pounds, they are forced to fight heavyweights. This is not fair. To fix this injustice, the WBC will now have a Fatso Division.”
The WBC “fatso division” will be open to all fighters who weigh more than two hundred pounds and have a body-fat percentage of thirty percent or more.
“Once everything is in place,” Sulaiman elaborated, “the WBC will have a fatso champion, an interim fatso champion, and a super-fatso champion.” James Toney has been designated as the WBC fatso champion emeritus.
* * *
The NCAA announced today that it has decided to scrap its tradition elimination-tournament format and adopt a modified Showtime “Super Six” model for its Men’s Championship Basketball Tournament.
“March Madness has gotten tired,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told TheSweetScience.com. “Initially, we planned to expand the tournament to sixty-eight teams with four play-in games that would narrow the field to sixty-four. Then we looked at what Ken Hershman has done at Showtime and decided, if it’s good enough for boxing, it’s good enough for us.”
Under the new formula, seventy teams will be invited to the tournament. The Atlantic Coast Conference champion will be excluded because neither Duke nor North Carolina is promoted by Gary Shaw. The seventy teams will play each other in a partial round-robin schedule with UCLA refusing to play in any game that isn’t scheduled for Pauly Pavilion in Westwood. Teams will drop out of the tournament as their star players flunk out of college or leave school to join the NBA.
“If things get too complicated,” Emmert explained, “we’ll just ignore the schedule and go right to the Final Four. I have no idea how the Final Four will be chosen, but we’ll think of something.”
“And there will be other changes,” Emmert added. “Under our new format, a team will be able to skip the first few rounds of the tournament, come in as a late entry, and, if it wins one game big, still make the Final Four. Or maybe we’ll just have a Final Three. I don’t know when we’ll crown a champion, but I think it will be sometime in 2013.”
Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at email@example.com. He notes that satire is the use of irony and humor to expose folly.