By Gary Purfield
On Saturday night in enemy territory at the Bell Centre in Montreal Bernard Hopkins won a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal in front of 17,560 fans. In doing so he became the Ring Magazine and WBC Light Heavyweight Champion. Hopkins further cements his legacy and hall of fame career with the win as he breaks George Foreman’s record at forty six years of age becoming the oldest man to win a major title.
The fight played out somewhat similar to the first encounter back in December that ended in a controversial majority draw. Pascal 26-2-1 (16 KO) appeared to win the early rounds again but without the two knockdowns he had in the first fight and even the early rounds he won were far less convincing this time around. Then the ageless one made adjustments as he always does and took over the fight. Hopkins began landing his straight right with ease and then mixed in his other shots to keep Pascal guessing.
Hopkins 52-5-2 (32 KO) showed his playful side multiple times. As he gained more control and confidence he would drop his hands and even stick his tongue out at this opponent. Prior to round seven Hopkins began doing pushups in the corner before the start in a show of his fitness and defiance of age.
Hopkins clearly had the better game plan which is expected of the older and wiser experienced fighter. He also had the better stamina and conditioning to fight hard for twelve rounds which is not expected of any older fighter much less one that is forty six years old. While Pascal fought in spurts which became less and less as the rounds ticked away Hopkins moved forward and attacked for the majority of every round after the slow first.
From the sixth on Hopkins basically dominated every round mentally and physically. He was more active, more accurate, and appeared to be having fun while the opponent eighteen years younger looked faded and discouraged. Pascal had a moment in the twelfth where he landed one of his home run attempts that momentarily stunned Hopkins but he could not follow up and it was too little too late.
Hopkins stated that he wanted to give the fans an exciting fight and save his best for last.
“I know the fans pay to see fight I have been accused of being boring, I plan to box, win fights.”
“Before I leave this game you are going to see the best fights of Hopkins career, every fight the rest of my career will be breathtaking. You save the best for last like any great entertainer, I want to go out on a positive note, and that is as a winner, not punch drunk, beat, and broke.”
Bernard Hopkins is a walking, fighting example that getting old does not mean giving up what you love you to do. Sure he may have better genetics than 99% of us but 99% of us are not going to be stepping into a professional boxing ring to take on an athlete power puncher like Jean Pascal.
What Hopkins does is set an example that with the right care, discipline, and practice one can continue doing great things as the birthdays keep rolling by. Most of us dread each passing year of getting older and all the things that come with it including slowing down, wrinkling, losing hair, and all the other fun sides of again. Hopkins stares those problems down and beats them back a well-timed right cross.
Instead of using age as an excuse he uses it as a motivator to accomplish greater goals. Just another in the long line of naysayers that Hopkins admits is what motivates him. This is a lesson any of us can take away from watching Saturday’s fights. Age can be a deterrence or a motivator. Many of us would be better off following Hopkins lead in this area.
In the co-featured bout Chad Dawson got back in the win column with a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu 27-3 (15 KO). Dawson 30-1 (17 KO) was coming off a loss to Jean Pascal. Dawson has a guarantee to fight the winner (Hopkins) of the main event. This was Dawson’s first fight with trainer Emanuel Steward.
- They know how to put on a live show in Canada for boxing. With a crowd of 17,560 at the Bell Centre in Montreal they stage elaborate ring entrances and roll out the red carpet to entertain the fans. More fight venues should take notice.
- Nazim Richardson may be the best trainer to listen to in the corner for entertainment. He is a great trainer giving great advice in the most colorful way which unfortunately I cannot quote due Nazim’s good use of expletives.
- Max Kellerman with the quote of the night with something to the effect of. if you live long enough you will see Shane Mosley stink out the joint and Hopkins light up the joint.
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