Boxing


Bernard Hopkins Says If He Loses To Jean Pascal He Will Retire

By James Slater: Legendary Philly master Bernard Hopkins gives it one more roll of the dice on December 18th, when he faces light-heavyweight ruler Jean Pascal. At age 45 (B-Hop will turn 46 the month after the fight), and after having done all he’s done in a simply brilliant career, Hopkins could have called it a day a long time before now. But “The Executioner” wants his name to be put alongside those other fistic greats who defied Father Time: guys like Archie Moore and George Foreman.

Wanting also to shock the odds again, the crafty former middleweight king believes he still has the tools to defeat Pascal; the man who is coming off that upset win over the previously unbeaten Chad Dawson. Hopkins is candid enough to admit, though, that should he lose in December, his long, Hall of Fame-bound career will finally come to an end. But B-Hop doesn’t think this will happen; instead he sees another glorious victory over a man so much younger than himself.

The two fighters met face-to-face today, at the official press conference in Toronto, and SKY Sports picked up what both men had to say.

“I understand that this fight is win or go home for me,” Hopkins said. “There’s really no tomorrow for me, unless I take this fight and I take it aggressively - my career ends. People will be calling for my head. Pascal is the guy to beat right now and my motivation to accept his challenge is to show he’s just borrowing that title.

“At 35, people thought I was old and then I beat Felix Trinidad. I’ve been blessed to fight for so long. I’m the teacher, I’m going to take the student and give him an apple. And then, he’s going to be humble. I know he’s serious. I expect an all-out gunslinger’s fight. He’ll be told to jump on me. Why? Because I’m old. But I’ve seen every style in 23 years.”

Over the last nine years - since the awesome showing he gave against the then-unbeaten Trinidad - we’ve grown accustomed to watching Hopkins tear up the script. A truly remarkable fighter, it is foolish to pick against him. But - is this the fight where age finally catches up with B-Hop? Pascal, a young fighter with a ton of energy, is brimming with confidence and his work-rate will not allow Hopkins to rest in the fight. That all-out, never-stop-throwing-punches approach led to Hopkins’ downfall in April of 2008, when Joe Calzaghe’s consistency and high punch-rate saw him earn a close, debatable decision win. Will Pascal do what Joe did, only more convincingly?

Pascal feels he will make history on Dec. 18th (presumably by that the Haitian-born warrior means he will become the first man to halt Hopkins), and the champion also insists he is the hungry fighter.

“It’s a very important fight for me,” Pascal said of the upcoming rumble. “Bernard Hopkins said he made history, that’s in the past tense. I’m going to make history on December 18th. I don’t see a legend in the ring. I see a piece of meat, and I’m a hungry dog. This is my time. I belong with the elite boxers.”

Pascal will in all likelihood make the fast start Hopkins alluded to, and it will be interesting to see if the 18 years-older man will be able to cope with the onslaught coming his way. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how Pascal is made to pay if and when his aggression leaves him open to return fire from the slick veteran.

Hopkins was thought by many to have pushed his luck too far when he signed to face the murderous-hitting Kelly Pavlik. Instead of losing, though, Hopkins turned in his best performance in years. That October 2008 win was the last time B-Hop really shined in the ring. Was the catch-weight win he scored over “The Ghost” the Philadelphian’s last miracle? Or will Hopkins all but ruin another young and talented fighter’s confidence a week before Christmas day?

Article posted on 20.10.2010



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