ALL HAIL HOPKINS: The Legend Schools Pascal, Gets Draw

The Legend Schools Pascal, Gets DrawHe finally made a full-on believer of this writer with his stunningly solid performance at the Pepsi Center in Quebec on Saturday night Bernard Hopkins has to be elevated into the mix as an all time pound for pound great, off the clinic he put on against WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal, on Pascal's home turf. The old professor of pugilism, who I knew was great but not to the extent that he is, was gunning to be the oldest man to win a legitimate title. He was sent to the canvas in the first and third rounds, but still emerged with a majority draw, and can easily make a case the he deserved to win. He turns 46 on January 15, and was the master of the ring against a talented man who'd never been in with such a specimen, and never will again, unless he gives Hopkins a rematch, as he should.

Hopkins asked the media not to downplay his foe if he won, and he damn well deserves that respect. After a rough early going, he got the old bones and joints lubed, and put Pascal in a trance. Can we question Pascal's gameplan? Sure; but only minimally, because Hopkins, with his mind games, and with his superior ring generalship, rendered the Canadian the lesser being after the weak start. After, Hopkins said, “The world seen it..I had the guy beat up, he was the guy holding. I'm the older guy, c'mon man. That's not right, man. I won every round…”

He said the first knockdown wasn't legit, a “a back of the head shot.

“I dominated the fight..look at his face, look at mine,” he said. How about a rematch? “I'm too dangerous for everybody. This was a sure enough robbery. I took him to school.” He said he got screwed, because he was in Pascal's territory. “I believe I won, I know I won,” he said.

Pascal said he thought he won, and said Hopkins fought “ugly, dirty.” He said he didn't get a gift from the judges. “If he want a rematch, anytime,” he said to Jim Gray post-fight.

“I think I did enough to win the fight,” he said, as Gray told him he lost.

Judge Steve Morrow had it 114-112, for Hopkins, while Claude Paquette saw it 113-113, a draw, and Daniel van de Wielle had it 114-114, for a majority draw. But it was the Philly man, who has forgotten more than virtually anyone else has learned, who owned the second three quarters of the scrap. We don't need any judges to tell us how to view this effort. You bet against, or write off Hopkins at your own peril. To you all, to Hopkins I say: never again. Even if he gloves up in 2016, against the latest young gun, I'm not going to go there. It's not prudent.

Pascal (26-1 entering; from Haiti, and living in Quebec) weighed  174 3/4, while Hopkins (51-5-1; from Philly) was 174 1/2 pounds on Friday. Hopkins made his way to the ring first. He was booed like he just said that he came from spitting on the grave of Rocket Richard. The vet wore a balaclava, rather than a more ornate executioner mask, as he soaked in the boos, and fueled himself with the derision. To add to the moment, an old crooner belted out “My Way” as he walked behind Bernard to the ring. Michael Griffin reffed, and had a more than respectable outing.

In the first, Pascal circled the huge ring. He wanted Hopkins to lead. A counter left by Pascal and a solid right to the ear both told Hopkins that Pascal wouldn't just jab and run to a win. A right  to the side of the head, as Hopkins crowded him, sent Hopkins to the mat at the end of the round. He grinned as he sat on his stool. This was the first time he'd been down in 16 years.

In the second, Pascal again wanted Hopkins to lead early. Bernard got more comfortable, landing and clinching. But a leaping left by Pascal gave the crowd a buzz to end the round.

In the third, Pascal backed Bernard up at times, and then circled, and waited patiently, and dictated the tempo. A left hook put Hopkins down with 30 seconds left, as he got caught as he was about to counter, in close, once again. Hopkins threw for two seconds after the bell ended the round. Did he not hear the bell in a loud building?

In the fourth, Hopkins ripped hooks and rights to the body. But when he missed, he missed big. He went to the mat again off a right hand. Again, he wasn't looking, and got  clipped.  But it was a foul, behind the head, clearly. This round, Pascal worked after the bell.

In the fifth, Hopkins' hook had zing. Was Pascal respecting the elder too much? Pascal slipped a shot,  and delivered a right hand that landed clean at the end of the round, to cap a decent round for each man.

In the sixth, Hopkins' jab wasn't a factor early, despite a plea from trainer Naazim Richardson to use it. He landed a right counter which backed up Pascal at 1:50. Pascal made Hopkins miss a good deal, but didn't make him pay. He needed his corner to offer a Plan B. He was running too much from an “old” man.

In the seventh, Hopkins scored with the left hook. His hand speed was superb, for a twentysomething. Another round for the canny vet. The crowd reacted; they were church-quiet.

In the eighth, a right by Hopkins sent a signal that he would be in charge this round too. A left counter scored, but Hopkins grinned and mugged. Pascal finally awoke from the trance in this round. It was a close round, in a close fight, and the fans sat quiet, contemplating the unexpected.

In the ninth, there was some hot action. Hopkins slammed home a right cross at 1:20. Again, a tight round.

In the tenth, Hopkins scored with left hooks to the body, and lead rights as Pascal edged close. Pascal scored clean but the oldster refused to crumble. Sneaky quick Hopkins shook his head, maintaining he wasn't bothered by anything. “Keep attacking,” trainer Marc Ramsay told Pascal.

In the 11th, Hopkins was ripping with the meaner shots. Pascal looked weathered. Pascal went down, but from tangled feet with 15 seconds left.

In the 12th, Hopkins came out flurrying. He threw lead rights, came forward, scored with hooks.. 45??? A right counter by Pascal was sharp. They traded, and the house went ballistic. We'd go to the cards.

Hopkins went 171-445, to 105-353 for the hometowner.

SPEEDBAG George Chuvalo, Lucian Bute and Glen Johnson sat and watched live. —Our own Bernie Fernandez scored from press row for Showtime, and saw it 115-112 for Bernard. —Antonio Tarver said he wouldn't argue with the decision, but he had Pascal winning. Al Bernstein said, “Hopkins won in perception..I think that the decision is not an absurd one.” He had Hopkins up a point. How about you, TSS Universe? Lay it out in the BRAND, SPANKING NEW FORUM, BABY! Comment on this article


the Roast :

I'm starting to feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway. WILSON!!!!!

mortcola :

Don't worry, Roast, I'm here. Just you and me and Wilson. Anyway, there were two fights here. The fight, and the arithmetic. The fight was mostly Hopkins. F-in' genius. Not even particularly dirty - spoilsport Pascal was way off when he used that old criticism. Bernard beat him hands down most of the fight from the outside, feinting, dictating pace and distance, jabs, lead hooks and crosses, crunching body shots with more speed and pop (grand-pop) than B-Hop has shown in years. Pascal only succeeded with occasional, single, speedy counters. Not nearly enough. Then there's the arithmetic. If both knockdown rounds are scored 10-8, the fourth is called even, and Hopkins wins EVERY round remaining, then it is Hopkins' fight, 115-112. If Pascal takes ONE round between the 5th and the 12th, and one more is scored even, then it is a 114-114 draw. If the first knockdown is waived due to the rabbit punch (which it was, unlike the Johnson-Green knockdown, which was due to Green's intentionally leaning down and away from a straight punch), then Hopkins gains one more point, losing the round 10-9. The knockdown in the third was a legit one, in a round B-Hop was winning. Sorry, you lost that one, Bernard. What we have here is a matter of arithmetic and one debatable referee's call. As for who dominated the fight, full props to B-Hop, for one of the best demonstrations of ring generalship and effective, economical punching I've seen since Mayweather shut down (night of the walking) Mosley. Except in this case, the old man did the whuppin', and the young speedy guy ran around, huffing and puffing and looking lost. Arithmetically acceptable result. And, as good as Hopkins was, he had Pascal legitimately hurt on three occasions, twice from body shots and once from a stunning right lead, and didn't press a potentially fight-ending advantage, possibly costing himself a TKO or the points earned from a knockdown. He won a moral victory that people will remember. But the scorecards were justifiable. Unless tweaked ever-so-little to keep Pascal in the draw. Just sayin'.

DJ_12 :

Agree with prior post, the 1st knockdown was BS and the 2nd was legit. Still, BHOP won every other round. Those vicious left hooks that Bhop threw to Pascal's body paid dividends. Pascal was hurt at least two times in this fight and was afraid to mix it up. Bhop was never hurt and his face was was unmarked. Pascal is a "B" fighter. How Chad Dawson lost to this guy is beyond me. Major props to BHOP as he should have been crowned the new Light Heavyweight Champ. Amazing performance for a 45 year old man.

amayseng :

even with the knockdowns scored, even tho the first should not have counted, counting it i still had hopkins winning easily. he was masterful with body work, sneaky left hooks upstairs and numerous short rights. the controversy was that the belgium judge gave round 10 to a draw, even, if he gave it to bhop which he should have bhop would have won. bhop clearly won that round except for two burst from pascal. at 145 and 103 of that round bhop staggered pascal, watch his legs when he is hit, the first a right hand and at 103 left hooks i believe. no way bhop drew this fight, he won it. he has pascal lunging missing shots like an amateur and running away, running away, i have never seen a champion run away when getting hit, for 7 rounds. round 12 was close but should have had a point taken away probably twice for pascal holding like a mofo. the ref was horrible, also, bhop was not fighting dirty, not at all for pascal to call that out is bullshit. and another thing, hey pascal you are not a SOLDIER, soldiers are in iraq and around the world right now taking bullets and grenades and dying so dont even pull that disrespectful shiiiit. pascal got schooled, beat up and looked lost, he was also hitting behind the head. what a masterful performance by bhop, i am blessed to have watched it.

Radam G :

I feel like I'm in outerspace, but I guess this is cyberspace. In real space, ole B-Hop and the ole genie Naazim are awesome. Nice new Universe. Now the pugilistic biz can get some new judges with good seeing. Holla!

Editor Mike :

Radam said "nice new Universe." AWRIGHT. --Editor Mike

Editor Mike :

Welcome MORT! --EM

Editor Mike :

Hi Roast! --EM

Editor Mike :

FYI That photo with the fight report I think fit really well..but I gotta admit, it came from the Hopkins-Jones fight. ---EM

the Roast :

What up EM! Now we're getting some where! Welcome Radam and mortcola. I can't call last night a robbery. It was close. I feel Hopkins benefited from those knockdowns. He came out for the fourth round knowing he was five points down. Hopkins knew he had to change the momentum and he did. Amazing performance.

Radam G :

@The Roast, a draw - which it was - or a close call for B-Hop would have been fine. For a sec, I thought B-Hop was going to be bouncing up and down off the canvas like Juan Manuel Marquez, who has since expressed anger at Sugar Shane Mosley for wanting to tangle with THC PacMan. Despite all of that, I think that B-Hop and Pascal should go at it again on the undercard of THC PacMan and JMM. That card would make some mean bucks, and should be held in Manila. It could be called "The Double Trouble Thrilla in Maynila Bringing a Conclusion to the Confusion of Somebody's Victorious Delusion. Holla!

mortcola :

Like Radam says, great new Universe. Can't wait to swim around and check it out.

the Roast :

Just getting back from gathering some firewood. I spelled out S O S with stones on the beach. Speared a fish. @ Radam, It did look like B-Hop was in for an early exit but he came back strong. That's all you can ask any athlete to do in the moment is to go for it. Seize the M F-ing day. I didnt think Bernard could still get down like that.

Fe'Roz :

I think I finally found a plank and can paddle in to shore. Throw me a line matey. I've been feeling like Jean Pascal; up shit's creek with out a paddle. When I wake up, have Ginger and Marianne being me some fresh fruit. And an expresso. Then I may I have something coherent to add. Nice to see you all......

the Roast :

Fe'Roz! Nice to see you made it! This is a great new U EM has set up. How did you like the fight last night?

Fe'Roz :

What can I add. Bernard made haters believers. That in itself might be the greatest achievement of all. Right there in front of our eyes we saw something you might be telling your children about...but you yourself will be thinking about every time you drag your old bones out of bed and hit the rock another day. If Bernard Hopkins can do that...there are no excuses. The wizened old man from Philadelphia took that child to school. He flat out got off his seat in the fourth round and ran away with the fight...and the hearts and minds of any fair minded boxing lover, no matter what your affiliation. I tried posting earlier ( but was rejected )... And just wanted to add that Bernard Hophins defines champion. Put the man in a title the championship rounds when everything is on the line...and Bernard belongs as he always is. Standing. The jan is an ATG. I do not want to quibble over what number or how high up on the list he belongs. The bottom line is...He belongs.

Smoke :

This fight far exceeded my expectations. I was thoroughly impressed with Bernard's ring savvy and his ability to make the other fighter look just mediocre. A masterful performance by Hopkins. I am glad everyone is starting to come back after the big change. When I first signed on to the new format all I saw as a member was Don Puto. So welcome back all! Change is good!

Radam G :

@SMOKE, ditto! And change is indeed wonderful. For the first time in a while, now all the regs and highly intelligent readers/posters can be certain that a post is me instead of obnoxious clones and/or stalkers. With that said, ole B-Hoppy proved what the late, great "Old Mongoose" Archie Moore said to me and a band of other toddlers and pupils at that time/age/stage. "Never get too cocky, because an old man can put something on a young [arse] that that [arse] has never seen." B-Hop confused Pascal with the old school slip and slide, ride and hide, turn and burn, nail and sail and blind and shine. This is how the Old Mongoose beat speed and youth back in his era. Ole B-Hoppy turned a youthful speed demon into a herky-jerky scary chump case. He'd slip Pascal's right, slide inside the hook and nail Pascal with a right cross then turn and burn Pascal with his own left hook to the head or left uppercut to the body. This scare the heck of out the Haitian-Canadian, IMHO. It is was a straight masterpiece how Ole B-Hoppy would feint and make Pascal almost jump out of his skin, then B-Hop would get his sail on with lateral movement then blind Pascal with that left jab then body-and-head shine him with a right-left-uppercut-right combo, then nail him with another uppercut while hiding behind feints. This bout was the most exciting one that B-Hop has been in in a long time. But like always the computer punch stats counters fudged up. They apparently missed counting several accurate punches that B-Hop scored on Pascal. And I guess that they were so use to B-Hop being a conservative puncher that they decided ahead of time to not give him a high count of punches or scoring one. In the 10th and 11th rounds, B-Hop whopped Pascal with about 40 shots, but the stats counters gave him in the teens. Holla!

Editor Mike :

So glad you made it. For us "more mature" folk, figuring out how to sign in, sign on, log in can be a trial. Thanks for sticking with it, bro. I'd be crushed if we lost all-star commenters in the shuffle. :cool: Ha. Emoticons are fun.