You should not expect Jean Pascal to watch a tape of his bout against Bernard Hopkins, and issue a press release proclaiming the controversial decision, a draw, to be invalid.
Pascal told TSS on Wednesday that he wanted to properly soak in the holidays, and savor time with family and friends, before he gets back into fightgame mode, and watches the 12 rounds against the all-time great Hopkins.
'It was a great fight, really, really close, but of course I still feel I won,” Pascal told TSS. “I was at home, the champion, and the rounds were close, but close rounds go to the champion. You're supposed to beat up the champion to beat the champion. I feel I did enough.”
Many who watched the fight don't, of course. I was writing up the fight, so I didn't score it carefully enough to offer a firm take, but I could have seen either man get the nod, and am OK with a draw. I did come away being beyond impressed with what Hopkins was able to accomplish, less than a month away from his 46th birthday. The guy should be pondering when to schedule his annual prostate exam, and instead, he's going tooth and nail with a kid young enough to be his son. I choose mostly to laud Hopkins, and commend him for what he was able to do, and how he was able to negate Pascal, all the more brilliant when you consider he was knocked down in the first and third rounds. As instructed by Hopkins during the pre-fight hype, I choose not to denigrate Pascal, focus on what he didn't do, and will continue to shine a light on Hopkins' superiority. Interestingly, however, with his recent talk that he “exposed” and “schooled” Pascal, the wily vet is himself detracting from his exemplary showing. By saying that Pascal has been exposed, he's minimizing his own part in the outcome of December 18.
All in all, Pascal would like Hopkins to quit running his mouth, he told me.
“I knocked him down three times,” Pascal said. “If he brought me to school, he's not such a good teacher. Yes, he has a lot of experience, and that showed. I'm still young, still green. If he thinks I was exposed, I really don't think so.
“Hopkins doesn't need to run his mouth to get a rematch. Stop running your mouth, of course I'll give you a rematch! Anytime, anywhere! You say, 'I got robbed,' to get a rematch. Of course I'll give you a rematch. Every time Hopkins loses, he complains. Same thing when he lost to Jermain Taylor (twice, in 2005). But because I'm Canadian and this fight was in Canada, more is being made of his complaints. Just man up, Bernard. You got to come back stronger.”
Pascal isn't sure if he'll next glove up against Chad Dawson, in a rematch from their Sept. 14 tussle, when Pascal scored a TD11 win, and took Dawson's WBC light heavyweight belt, or against Hopkins. He said he's game for either, but would prefer to take on Hopkins again, because there is still so much talk about their clash. “I'd rather fight Hopkins next, it's still fresh in peoples' minds. I'm a man of my word. If I need to fight Dawson first I will. But I'd love to face Hopkins first.”
Pascal dismisses the claim that his first knockdown was an illegal blow. I concur; repeated viewings on tape are at worst inconclusive. The telling punch looks like it landed on the side of the head, not the back of the head. “Hopkins is the one who came in with his head down and in,” Pascal said.
Pascal said he and his team will watch the tape soon. I asked if he doesn't wonder if perhaps his strategy, lots of movement, maybe not enough aggression, wasn't the right gameplan for the Philly vet. “It was the perfect start, but I just wasn't busy enough. It's just his experience,” Pascal said of the reason for the close decision. “He did it with time and experience. That was only my fourth title fight.”
He does concede that he didn't throw enough, and wonders if it was just “an off night for me.” He makes clear to TSS that he didn't make the same mistake we did, and underestimate the canny pugilist. “No, people were, but not me, not my team,” he said. “We knew he'd be in shape, clever, a legend.”
Finally, I injected my opinion into the mix, and told Pascal I'd like to see him, if he's contractually able, to fight Hopkins agin, soon. Too often fighters and suits squander opportunity by letting controversy fade, instead of booking a rematch ASAP. He pointed out, smartly, that he has fought twice in four months, so he'd like some time to recharge his body. Thus, we'll likely see some of the natural heat from the flames of controversy die off in the next couple months. This being boxing, we can be sure that new drama will arise, from woeful decisions, and Mayweather vs. rent-a-cop beefs, and what have you, so we probably won't get a timely rematch to enjoy. But hey, as long as they do it before Hopkins turns 50, I'm pretty certain the rematch will match expectations.
Did I say 50, maybe 60…LOL.
Happy holidays, TSS Universe.