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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hopkins, Pascal Battle To A Majority Draw

Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (51-5-2, 1 NC, 32 KO's) and Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KO's) fought to a twelve-round majority draw in front of 16,133 boisterous fans at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada. As a result, Pascal retains his Ring Magazine, WBC and IBO Light Heavyweight titles. Official scores were 114 -112 (Steve Morrow) for Hopkins, 113-113 (Claude Paquette) and 114-114 (Daniel Van De Wielle). The Boxing Ledger had it scored 116-111 for Bernard Hopkins. Had Hopkins, 45, pulled off the victory, he would have been the oldest champion in boxing history, breaking George Foreman's record by 38 days. In 1994, Foreman kayoed Michael Moorer in the tenth round with a devastating right hand shot to win the heavyweight title.

Hopkins successfully scored with his right hand in the opening round. Then, Pascal, 28, connected with a solid counter left hook. Moments later, Pascal struck Hopkins with a right and he quickly held Pascal. After that, Pascal floored Hopkins with an overhand right that landed behind Hopkins' head. However, referee Michael Griffin ruled it a knockdown, which was the correct call because Hopkins was ducking as the punch landed.

In round two, Hopkins continued to score with his right hand and was the aggressor. As the bell rang to end the round, Pascal landed a wide left hook.

Pascal started round three by landing a sweeping left hook to Hopkins' head. Nevertheless, Hopkins managed to score with vicious left hooks to the champion's body. Suddenly, Hopkins struck Pascal in the head with a clean left hook. During a heated exchange, Pascal connected with a rock-solid left hook that landed on the left side of Hopkins' collarbone. Hopkins went down swiftly. Just as the bell sounded to end the round, Hopkins landed three late punches, ending with a left hook to Pascal's head. The crowd was so loud that many were unaware the bell had rung, including the referee.

From that point, Hopkins took full control of the fight.

In round four, Pascal landed a right as referee Michael Griffin attempted to break a clinch. After Pascal missed a left hook, Hopkins quickly countered with a left hook of his own, followed by a sharp left hook to Pascal's body. Hopkins momentarily went down resulting from a slip. Subsequently, Hopkins continued to strike Pascal in the body with well-timed left hooks, slowly wearing him down.

Hopkins exhibited a slightly higher work rate than Pascal in round five, repeatedly striking him in the body with fierce left hooks. Pascal briefly stunned Hopkins with a counter left hook - right uppercut combination. Hopkins answered in a flash with a series of rights and lefts that landed on Pascal's head. Pascal responded promptly with a lunging left hook, but Hopkins kept coming, firing and landing a powerful right to Pascal's body.

Hopkins had a very impressive sixth round, pushing Pascal back with punches from all angles. Hopkins, possessing the edge in hand speed, scored with a succession of rights and lefts to Pascal's body and head. At this point, it was the most clear-cut round Hopkins had won in the fight.

In the seventh round, Pascal displayed a minor abrasion under his right eye. Hopkins pursued Pascal, assaulting him with overhand rights and left hooks to the body as the crowd quieted down.

In the early moments of the eighth round, Hopkins landed an overhand right and immediately clinched with Pascal. After Hopkins connected with another right, Pascal landed a massive left hook, but Hopkins instantly
grimaced, letting Pascal know that the punch did not faze him. Soon after, Hopkins moved close and landed a left hook that was below the belt line, although there was no warning from the referee and Pascal did not complain.

Hopkins tallied with a left uppercut - right to the body to begin round nine. Hopkins temporarily dazed Pascal after he landed a flush overhand right. Afterward, Pascal struck Hopkins in the body with a right cross, but Hopkins caught him with a buzzing left hook simultaneously.

The tenth round was closer to score. Pascal tagged Hopkins with a firm right uppercut, while Hopkins kept finding the target, hitting Pascal with left hooks to the body and right crosses to the head. When Pascal connected, his shots were wild and never came in combination.

It appeared Pascal went down from a Hopkins right hand in round eleven, but referee Michael Griffin ruled Pascal had slipped. Hopkins continually got his punches off first, but Pascal was able to land some hard inside uppercuts during the round. After the round concluded, Pascal's corner was desperately telling him that he needed to go out and win the twelfth round.

As the twelfth round began, Hopkins went on the attack. Both men brawled intensely in close quarters, Pascal landing a right uppercut and Hopkins catching Pascal with a colossal left hook to the head. Hopkins, displaying a cut lip on the left side of his mouth, looked like the younger fighter, trading blow-for-blow with Pascal. Unfortunately, Hopkins did not receive the decision victory he had earned in the end, succumbing only because of erroneous judging.

Arthur Mercante, who refereed Joe Frazier - Muhammad Ali I among many other championship fights, believed that you scored a fight by deciding which fighter won two out of the three minutes in every round, awarding each minute to one of the fighters. That method usually led to a fighter clearly winning a round. Using Mercante's judging standard, if one was scoring the Hopkins - Pascal fight, there is absolutely no objective way to award more rounds for Pascal, simply because he did not win two out of the three minutes in more rounds than Hopkins. Also, Hopkins threw and landed more punches than Pascal, outworking him the majority of the bout.

The World Boxing Council may order Pascal to give Hopkins an immediate rematch, although Pascal could always relinquish the title and fight someone else. Assuming that occurred, Hopkins may be able to fight for a vacant WBC Light Heavyweight title in the near future against another fighter, gaining another well-deserved opportunity to set history. In the court of public perception, Hopkins won the fight easily. Sadly, that means little for Hopkins officially entering the record books as boxing's oldest man to win a major world title.

Other Results

Welterweights: Paulie Malignaggi TKO 6 against Michael Lozada

Super Middleweights: Peter Quillin KO 1 against Martin Desjardins

Welterweights: Kevin Bizier RTD 3 over Ronnie Warrior, Jr.

Lightweights: Pier Olivier Cote TKO 1 over Cesar Soriano

Heavyweights: Tyson Fury UD 8 versus Zack Page

Super Middleweights: Danny Jacobs TKO 5 versus Jesse Orta

Heavyweights: Eric Bahoeli UD 6 over Ruben Rivera

Middleweights: Mikael Zewski TKO 2 against Leonardo Rojas

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