There is a healthy rivalry brewing between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal. The two light heavyweights don’t like each other much, and that should make for a very entertaining fight come Saturday (10 P.M. ET on HBO).
The storylines are there. Hopkins, 46, is looking to become the oldest boxer to win a world title. On fight night, he will be 192 days older than current record holder George Foreman. Standing in the way is Pascal, a 28-year-old Canadian who currently holds the WBC light heavyweight title. Hopkins had a chance to take that from him in December, but a controversial majority draw was scored and Pascal retained his belt.
During that fight, Hopkins was knocked down twice in the first three rounds, but fought back to the point that many felt he won the fight, including Mr. Foreman himself.
"The first fight is going to have to be erased,” Foreman said. “The decision was not of quality. The second time around, Bernard will get a knockout.”
Adding to the intrigue surrounding this fight are Pascal’s insinuations about Hopkins using performance enhancing drugs. In turn, Hopkins has threatened to file a lawsuit, but said he would wait until after he won the fight.
“That just makes me laugh,” Pascal responded, “because if he wants to sue me, I will file a complaint because he said he’s going to kill me. Also, it’s sad that we have to go through all of this for central blood tests. If we are both clean, let’s just take the test, simple as that.”
Hopkins says Pascal is a four-round fighter, so Pascal claimed, “I’m going to knock him out inside four rounds.” The trash talk has even encompassed the fight venue, The Bell Center in Montreal.
“I was willing to go to the United States for the rematch to beat up Bernard Hopkins, but he has no fans in America,” Pascal said. “So that’s why he chose to go back to Canada to make more money. He knows that in Canada, we will have a great fight, great fans, and he knows he’s going to make more money in Canada than he’s going to make in American because he has no fan base.”
Fans or not, Foreman and Hopkins are confident there will be a new light heavyweight champion, and he will be the oldest man to do so. Why is Foreman backing Hopkins? He says he likes his style, and that he is a thinking-man’s boxer. It could also be to give Big George a reason to come out of retirement.
“All records were set to be broken,” he stated. “I’m just hoping someone will come back and do it at 65, so I can come back again.”
“I will be right behind you . . . hopefully.”