By Randy De La O
Sometimes fighter’s career can be defined by one fight. Put in one bad performance after a great career and that is what’s remembered. On the other hand, put in a great trilogy, for the ages, to cap off an otherwise mediocre to fair career and you get a movie made about you, as was the case with Mickey Ward. In Bernard Hopkins case, he is a future “Hall of Fame “ fighter for sure but has never been known as an all out, in your face fighter. Saturday night’s fight with Canadian Jean Pascal changed that perception for me. Hopkins laid it all on the line last night, took a lot of risks, and proved himself a warrior. It was a career defining performance.
The fight, which began at the press conference, continued in the ring. After seemingly winning the first round, Hopkins was dropped by an illegal punch behind the head, one of several Pascal would land during the fight. Referee Michael Griffin, not having the best view, ruled it a knockdown. In the third round Hopkins was again knocked down. This time it was legit. When the fourth round started Hopkins had dug himself into a hole.
Hopkins picked up the pace from the fourth round on. Going to the body, using his jab, and both physically and mentally imposing his will on Jean Pascal, whose own physical strength and will seemed to be shrinking. By the seventh round Pascal had the look of someone that had just realized the he had bitten off more than he could chew. The old man still had a lot of fight left in him. Hopkins wasn’t quite ready to give up the ghost just yet, not by a long shot. Mindful of his legacy and his place in boxing history, Hopkins at 45 years of age fought the fight of his life.
The audience, which was almost a 100% for Pascal, seemed to realize that their man was losing. Hopkins sensed victory and began to fight like a man that was confident of winning the fight, at times mugging and teasing Pascal. Pascal corner seemed desperate and from what I could hear, seemed to think there man was getting the worst of it. Pascal, despite showing fatigue did have his moments during the fight but they were few and far between.
I thought that Hopkins won every round after the third, but a couple were close and could have gone either way. Both fighters came out hard for the twelfth round and it could have gone either way. Overall, Hopkins fought the better fight, threw more punches and landed more. He was more accurate with his punches and never wavered in his plan. He had Pascal flustered and intimidated throughout the fight.
Claude Paquette scored the fight 113-113, Daniel Van de Wiele also had it even at 114-114 and Steve Morrow scored the fight 112-112. The fight, shown on Showtime Championship Boxing, took place at the Pepsi Coliseum, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.