Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bernard Hopkins V/S Jean Pascal

Join Will Cooling at 10PM ET for live play by play on what may well be the last fight in the legendary career of The Executioner, three-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins. He attempts to become the oldest man to ever wear boxing championship gold when he steps into the ring against Jean Pascal in the champion’s hometown of Quebec City.

In Pascal’s last appearance in Quebec City he defeated the unbeaten Chad Dawson to become the unified WBC, IBO and Ring champion. The former super-middleweight champion will be looking to successfully defend those titles tonight and make it five wins out of five since he made the move up in weight last year. Hopkins on the other hand will be hoping to prove that his pitiable performance against Roy Jones was simply a case of him fighting down to the level of his opponent and not a telling sign that there’s nothing left in the tank. In their preview column Trent, Corey and Paul all doubted that Hopkins still has the athleticism needed to outwork Pascal, but if anybody has the ringmanship to bridge a seventeen year age gap it is surely B-Hop

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Ring, WBC, IBO Light Heavyweight Title Match

Jean Pascal (174.1Ibs) vs Bernard Hopkins(174.6Ibs)

Round One

Here we go. Pascal is of course the heavy crowd favorite, and the crowd DOES not like Hopkins. They feel each other out, Pascal trying to flick out punches from distance. Hopkins comes forward, sneaking punches into the mid section. Pascal counters in kind. Hopkins fires out the jab and then almost catches Pascal in the corner, Pascal however hits him with a nice hook is able to get out of dodge. Pascal connects with a right hand, cleanest punch of the round. Hopkins rushes forward trying to work the body on the ropes, Pascal lands another overhand right and Hopkins is down. Hopkins quickly back up and bemoaning a rabbit punch but the referee counts. 10-8 to Pascal.

Round Two

Hopkins flicks out the jab but Pascal comes forward with big right-left combinations. Hopkins stalking Pascal with the jab, but Pascal almost connects with a big looping punch. Pascal with body shots. Pascal tries to close the distance but Hopkins holds. They come in and Hopkins holds, sneaking in some punches with his free hand. Hopkins gets a few more punches in after the separation. But Pascal comes back with a big straight punch taht cleanly lands on Hopkins chin. Another round to Pascal, who leads on my scorecard 20-17.

Round Three

Pascal backs Hopkins near the corner, and catches Hopkins with a right when Hopkins tries to get out of way. Pascal catches Hopkins again with a big right. Hopkins steadies himself and lands a great right to the temple of Pascal. Hopkins seemingly edging back into the fight, trying to put Pascal under pressure. Pascal rises to the challenge, dropping Hopkins again with a big left hook out of nowhere. Hopkins still looks strong, comes back aggressively but can’t land anything into ever the bell sounds. 30-25 to Pascal.

Round Four

Hopkins in a big hole here. Pascal swings and misses with a huge left hook. Pascal looking very comfortable in there but Hopkins starting to work the body. Hopkins catches Pascal, lands some hooks to the body. Pascal slips out and they fight at range. Pascal lands a big right hand straight to the head of Hopkins. They exchange inside and Pascal drops Hopkins again but its ruled a rabbit punch. Hopkins tries to rally and impose himself but the round ends with Pascal still comfortable. 40-34.

Round Five

They fight at range, Hopkins coming inside several times to work the body. The problem is when he does that Pascal has the handspeed to land the better, cleaner shot. Something he does again this round, landing a nice uppercut and a left hook. They fight inside and as Hopkins moves away Pascal connects with a big left hook that pushes Hopkins onto the ropes. Hopkins fires back with a wild and loose hook of his own. Hopkins is doing better in thsi round but is still clearly coming off second to the younger, faster and stronger champion. They exchange furiously in the corner at the end. 50-43.

Round Six

Pascal really is eating Hopkins up with these left hooks, whenever the American moves in there’s a quick counter ready and waiting from the Canadian. Pascal goes close with a big uppercut, but Hopkins evades and fires back with an overhand right. Hopkins grabs ahold of Pascal, and connects with a body punch. Hopkins gets a couple of straight punches through, this is better from Hopkins. Hopkins put some good combinations together but Pascal cleanly connects with a left hook that seems to hurt Hopkins. Hopkins rushes Pascal, referee breaks them up as Hopkins connects with punches whilst pushing Pascal down. 59-53.

Round Seven

Hopkins catches Pascal early with a left hook, follows up with a shot to the body. Hopkins trying to walk Pascal down, rushes in with a punch to the body. Pascal not showing the workrate or shot selection of the opening rounds, letting Hopkins put him under renewed pressure. Hopkins the aggressor this round, Pascal often grabbing ahold of him to avoid taking damage. Pascal needs to setup his punches and work the angles. Hopkins gets the better of that round, 68-63.

Round Eight

Hopkins comes in strong early, connects cleanly with a couple of meaningful punches. Hopkins looking to follow up with a jab but Pascal staying out of range. Pascal trying to rush forward but Hopkins gets out of the way. Pascal needs to work more. Hopkins comes in with another punch to the body. Pascal rushes in, and Hopkins throws some good counter punches. Hopkins follows up and puts together several punches until Pascal holds. Pascal almost steals the round with some overhand rights in the clinch but Hopkins get the nod. 77-73.

Round Nine

Nice right hand from Hopkins, whose looking the stronger at the moment. Hopkins follows up with another good punch. Hopkins stalks Pascal, working the body really well. Pascal gets warned by the referee for hitting behind the head. Hopkins getting more good hooks to the body in. Pascal goes close with a big right hand, but Hopkins pushes forwards to secure the round. 86-83

Round Ten

Pascal looks like he’s regained his bearings but Hopkins is bossing him at the moment. Hopkins connects with several straight hands, Pascal tries to fire back with jabs to the body. Pascal connects with a big left hook. They exchange on the inside, Hopkins wobbles Pascal with a short left hook. Hopkins comes in with a big body shot…looks to follow up and Pascal has to hold. Pascal tries to hunt Hopkins down with wild punches but its no use. Yet another round to Hopkins and in terms of rounds won its now level on my scorecards. Only the knockdowns are keeping Pascal ahead. 95-93.

Round Eleven

They go inside, Pascal holds on. Hopkins pushes forward, Pascal holds on again. Pascal put together some combinations, Hopkins fires back with that straight right that has landed repeatedly this second half. Hopkins comes forward with more shots to the body, Pascal holding. Hopkins comes forward again looking to land hooks to the body. Hopkins throws a looping right. Hopkins threatens with straight punches, Pascal goes down but its ruled a slip. Hopkins round but he needs a knockdown if he’s going to have any chance (and this is Quebec remember) to outpoint the champion. 104-103

Round Twelve

Hopkins coming forward really aggressive, mauling Pascal in the corner landing numerous body punches in the clinch. The referee separates them and Hopkins is desperately pouring forward trying to get a clean punch through. Pascal is holding, trying to avoid taking that telling blow. Pascal looks tired. Hopkins comes forward trying to connect with straight rights and hooks but doesn’t seem to have the power for the vital knockdown. They slug it out at the end and I can’t see Hopkins getting the decision, but the moral victory is his for sure. 113-113 on my scorecard.

Interesting scenes in the ring with Hopkins’ camp very happy whilst Pascal’s corner looks devastated. Which is odd because unless you give Hopkins either Round Two or Five (which I wouldn’t) and Rounds Six through to Twelve (which I would but wouldn’t bet on the hometown judges doing so) he lost the fight in the first four rounds.

The scores are 114-112 to Bernard Hopkins and then 113-113 and 114-114, therefore the fight is a majority draw. I had the fight scored a draw as well just because of those two knockdowns, Rounds Two and Rounds Five were close but my snap decision was that Hopkins did less in both them. But nobody should lose sight of what was a tremendous performance from Hopkins who after a poor start came on strong and gave Pascal a boxing lesson in that second half. But just as against Dawson, Pascal was able to escape the consequences of a terrible second half of the fight thanks only to an exceptional strong start. A surprisingly great fight and after tonight Hopkins surely deserves a rematch.

This concludes Inside Fights live coverage of Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins. Stay tuned to Inside Fights for all the latest news and analysis from the world of boxing.

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