…And That’s Why Hopkins Beats Pascal… But Wait
By Michael R. Cumberbatch: We are hours away from the light heavyweight showdown between Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and WBC light Heavyweight champ Jean Pascal. The action will take place at the sold out Colisee Pepsi in Quebec, Canada.
Article posted on 16.12.2010
Less than a month away from his 46th birthday, the legendary and age defying, Hopkins finds himself as the Vegas underdog against a quicker, younger and more athletic Pascal. I am a bit surprised that many have totally counted Hopkins out. Perhaps, because of his last two lackluster performances against Jones and Omelas and Pascal’s domination of then undefeated king “Bad” Chad Dawson.
All that being said, I think Hopkins has some advantage here.
What Did The Master See?
Ask yourself one question. Why was Hopkins so eager for this fight after Pascal’s annihilation of Dawson? Agreeing to this fight one week after the Dawson-Pascal fight. The answer isn’t that Pascal wasn’t in the greatest shape for the Dawson fight. The simple answer is that he saw weaknesses in Pascal’s game and areas he believes he can exploit. While everyone was abuzz over the Haitian born Pascal’s performance, Hopkins - the film master - was picking up on why this fight isn’t as difficult as everyone thinks it will be.
Sure his fights can be boring and void of any toe-to-toe action. His unwillingness to trade, fighting under the safety first mode, and the difficulty his opponents have landing solid punches, likens his matches to watching a PPV, five-hour chess match.
If you’ve watched him long enough, you’ll know that it may simply be taking away one punch, just ask Felix Trinidad.
The High IQ Factor
No doubt, there are not too many in boxing that have a higher IQ in the ring than Hopkins. That is one of the reasons he’s been able to preserve his career against younger and hungrier lions. If Pascal is to shine, he must earn his degree in the ring — fighting a technically smart fight.
The Counter Punch
One thing Pascal cannot do in this fight is come charging in an amateurish fashion --throwing any punches, any time he feels -- and not believe there will be any repercussions to his actions. He certainly got away with that against Dawson for the most part.
Pascal will certainly have the speed advantage and I expect him to come out fast and throw many punches in the early rounds, firing away often. That will change once he gets hit with the first counter that gets his respect.
Athleticism and Youth
There is absolutely no question that Jean has the advantage here. Bernard must hope that at least one more night he will be blessed not to look his age. At this age, any fighter is fighting on borrowed time and might grow old right before our eyes.
As much as Pascal has an advantage here, it can become his worst nightmare if he is relying solely on his physical prowess. One thing you must admit, love him or hate him, everyone fights Hopkins fight. His style is like a dominant gene where fighters who have a game plan often find that their plan A isn’t working and their own style becomes recessive. They find themselves forced to fight a style they never have encountered, ask Winky, Pavlik, and Tarver.
So What Will Happen?
Pascal starts early, wins some early rounds. After eating a couple of counters, then becoming a bit more cautious, being frustrated by the crafty one and tiring in the middle rounds before getting his second wind, will find himself losing the fight… But wait a minute…do you smell something? It’s called Canadian home cooking. Pascal will win by split decision, with the Canadian and Belgium judges giving him the nod; whereas, the American judge will favor Hopkins. Hopkins will rightfully win the match, albeit in the court of public opinion, but will lose on the scorecards.
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