Jean Pascal, a young, strong 28-year-old former champ tried to and got schooled by the cagey veteran. Hopkins ate a few big shots but for the most part was impossible to hit as he took a unanimous decision victory, 117-111, 116-112 and 115-114, to grab the WBC and IBO light heavyweight titles from Pascal.
The win makes the 46-year-old Hopkins the oldest fighter in the history of boxing to win a major title belt, eclipsing the mark set back in 1994 by another Hall of Famer George Foreman.
Foreman was 45 when he scored a shocking knockout against WBA heavyweight champ Michael Moorer.
"I felt like I'm not 46. I felt like I'm close to 36," Hopkins told HBO's Max Kellerman.
He looked it too. While Hopkins bounced around, moved forward and landed right hand leads whenever he wanted, Pascal (26-2, 17 KOs) tired in the second half of the fight. It was the most aggressive Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) we've seen in years.
"I know the fans pay to see fights. I've been accused of being boring. I was trying to buy years and time," Hopkins said. "I'm gonna finish strong. I had a plan in my boxing career, to win fights and get to the last bit. Before I leave this game, you're going to see the best fights of Bernard Hopkins' career. I know that's a big order providing what I've done already. I'm promising that every fight until I retire is going to be breathtaking and it's going to be heart beating."
This was unfinished business for the former middleweight king. Hopkins felt he was robbed back in December in Quebec City against Pascal. The fight was scored a majority draw. This time, Hopkins left no doubts.
In true Bernard Hopkins form, he announced that he already has his sights set on two future fights.
"I think the crowd got what they wanted. I think Canada would welcome me back to fight [Montreal native Lucian] Bute. I would love to fight Bute after Chad Dawson and then I will go onto something bigger and better. I will not retire until I get close to 50. That's about 4-5 years from now," Hopkins said with a big smile.
He outlanded Pascal 131 to 70. The Haitian was good on just 19 percent of his punches. Hopkins also landed 80 power punches. He also showed he still has a great chin. Pascal landed an excellent right in the third and another with 90 seconds left in the fight. The shaken Hopkins used his ring savvy to quickly regain his wits and nearly take back the round in both cases.
There are certainly some big fights out there for Pascal. He just needs to work on his conditioning and up his volume. Hopkins was nothing but complimentary after the fight.
"Let me tell you something about Jean Pascal ... he's tough, he's strong. And if this doesn't discourage him, I don't see nobody beating this strong bull from Canada," Hopkins said. "He has a good strong punch. He needs to work on a couple of things. He looked for big shots and I worked on that. I knew if he was successful with the big shots, he would be more active. So I had to disappoint him early. [He needs to take] some of the punching power off of every punch. He's got to set them up."
Pascal said he learned a lot from the two fights with Hopkins and would to see a third fight down the road. That probably can't happen until Hopkins faces both Dawson and Bute. If Hopkins wins both, that would make a third fight possible around the beginning of 2013. Will Hopkins really be fighting when he's 48? Again, who's going to stop him?
- Bernard Hopkins
- Jean Pascal