Pascal Retains Title Via Majority Draw Thanks to Two Early Knockdowns:
You’ll hardly find a boxing crowd or environment more exciting than the one in Quebec City on Saturday evening for the Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins fight. Pascal’s WBC title and the Ring light heavyweight title were at stake, and the 45-year-old Hopkins was looking to make history by becoming the oldest man to win one of the major belts in the sport. With the intoxicating crowd in full effect, Hopkins relished playing the villain, and Pascal seemed to equally relish playing the role of hometown hero.
When the fight began, it looked as if the speed, youth and athleticism of Jean Pascal would simply be too much for ol’ B-Hop. At the end of the first round, Hopkins got sent to the canvas, for the first time in 16 years, although the punch landed behind the head and seemed to push Hopkins down as much as anything.
However, Hopkins then got sent down in the third round again, and while he complained of a slip, this was a legitimate ruling, as he was hit with several left hooks before going down. Still, he didn’t seem any worse for the wear.
From there, Hopkins started to get more comfortable, and appeared to get a handle on the awkward timing and surprising quickness of Pascal. He dictated the pace of the bout, and was actually both out-landing and out-throwing Pascal as the middle rounds began to tick away. That actually held true for the duration of the bout, and Hopkins put up the better punch stats than his younger counterpart. It wasn’t just about numbers though, Hopkins was landing the cleaner, crisper shots, and was controlling where and how the action took place.
As Hopkins came on, landing fierce body shots, outworking the man 18 years his minor and clowning around by sticking out his chin and tongue at various points in the evening, Pascal began to tire. With the championship rounds underway it seemed like Hopkins was going for the kill. Pascal looked gassed, and Hopkins was turning up the heat even more. In the 11th, Pascal ended up on the canvas, and while it was properly ruled a slip it showed Pascal’s physical and perhaps mental condition at the time.
The 12th round was a war, with both men winging wild shots and egging the other man on as the crowd became frantic and wild. The two taunted each other, stood toe to toe, and traded bombs all the way until the closing bell.
When that final bell sounded there was no question about it, Hopkins, old enough to be the champion’s father, was fresher and was in the midst of yet another career defining performance at the end of a decade that had been full of them. But were those two knockdowns, and the points Hopkins lost as a result, enough to allow Pascal to retain his title?
Indeed they were, although Pascal didn’t get the W on his ledger. Instead, the final scorecards read 114-112 Hopkins, 113-113 and 114-114, for a Majority Draw. Pascal retains the title as a consequence, and the crowd, unabashedly pro-Pascal, booed the decision.
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