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Bernard Hopkins Robbed: Crime in Canada keeps Jean Pascal on Top

By Idris “Drees” Newton

“Wait, no crescendo?!”

That was my reaction the 1st time I watched the most recent of many boxing travesties. I just finished watching the Hopkins/Pascal fight for the second time and I’m very disappointed, in Pascal.

Why? Why you say?! Think of it, Pascal, a man with a known chin and adequate power in both hands gets out worked by a Bernard Hopkins who has never been known for his devastating power. He should have at least attempted to run over the 45 year old “B-Hop” who, because Pascal showed hesitation in most of the 12 rounder decided “hey this guy wants to box with me” and then proceeded to run right through the younger man.

If you didn’t already know that Bernard had what should have been an almost 18 year age disadvantage you wouldn’t have gotten that impression watching this lopsided boxing lesson (besides the two flash knockdowns early on). An evenly contested bout in the opening three rounds, it took an obvious turn in the fourth to the benefit of “The Executioner” who used a slick counter then lead attack and spiced in some body punches delivered with conviction (He was guilty of body slaughter).

Pascal, getting out boxed, is no flight of fancy, quite the contrary in fact it was very much expected. It is not very hard to out box him. He is a very wild swinging unorthodox fighter who jumps in with a strong but sloppy left cross and right hook. It is his power and the aforementioned chin that allow him to get away with having so many flaws. Especially in a fight with an older/slower marginally hard hitting Bernard Hopkins, but even then, it was a wash for “The Executioner” from round 4 on.

Who knew Bernard still had it in him? I did, that’s who.

In reality, I don’t think anyone outside of Canada thought Jean Pascal would walk away from this fight with belt intact. At the same time, none of us who have watched “B-Hop” for his last ten “un-knock-down-able” years, thought Pascal would knock him down. But two early knockdowns…yeah they were debatable, but that is at best. The first actually connected with the side of Bernard’s head which is a legal punch and even though he was already off balance it should’ve been ruled a knockdown. Okay, Justifiable. The second knockdown was even more incontestable, much to my and many of Bernard’s fan’s chagrin; nevertheless a knockdown is a knockdown. Still Bernard took them well and was clearly unfazed and continued to break Pascal’s defenses.

With that creepy “I’m not dead yet” sort of horror movie monster grin of his, “The Executioner” kept accosting the Light Heavyweight champ with zombie like persistence. But it wasn’t Pascal’s brains he was after, it was his resolve and will Bernard was attempting to devour, a mission in which he was having irrefutable success. Retreating for the majority of each round, from bell to bell, with a kind of “get back” punch thrown sparsely to slow the attack of Hopkins, you began to notice something that is quite indicative of a Pascal bout. Low stamina or should I say NO stamina, from the fairly young but prime aged Pascal. And, yes, Bernard was pressing the action, but he was pressing the action for a “Bernard Hopkins style fight,” which is infamously slow and at times boring (OK, most of the time they are boring). This wasn’t the pressure attack of a Mikkel Kessler or even a Glen Johnson…you get my point. I will desist the beating of the dead cow. Simply put, Pascal was taken out of this fight by a sound and unwavering body attack.

This was the story of the fight, Bernard’s focus on the body left Pascal winded and unable to stop the jab or leaping left hook of the 45 year old legend. With a reenergized ability to punch in bunches and an always game chin that can only be compared to solar panels the way it absorbs power, “The Executioner’s” confidence was bolstered enough to start searching vigorously for a knockout. A knockout that was not at all farfetched, with Pascal looking like the more worn fighter up until the final round.

So how can it end up in a draw you ask? Two 10-8 rounds (One of them should’ve been 10-9) of course. That’s a hole few can dig themselves out of although Bernard did so in my mind and many other’s as well. It just wasn’t enough in the eyes of the judges.

Who knows what they saw, did they see the counter punches by Pascal (most of which did not connect, contrary to what Antonio “Minimally Magical” Tarver might think)?

Bernard was more active and the more effective of the two combatants across the board. The last (most) rounds, Pascal held, A LOT! Then again, there were many squarely landed uppercuts in close (towards the end), but not enough to warrant a draw.

As The champion, you get sort of a benefit of the doubt from judges, we all understand that but at the same time you don’t just throw him a victory for no other reason than “He is the champ.”

Where do we go from here, what do we expect Bernard to do now. His chance at yet another history making achievement was stolen from him by the very men he never wanted to leave it to (Foreign judges). So does he just hang it up and go quietly? Is there much else to do in this case? Can he get Jean Pascal into the ring for a rematch before he is too old to take advantage of the opportunity? That answer is no, and it is no because, Pascal although he stated that: “I am a soldier, if he wants to get in the ring I will have no problem with that.” Sort of ambiguous… Vagueness aside, there are too many other big money fights to be made with guys like “Bad” Chad or even Carl “The Cobra” Froch, who has voiced an interest in a rematch. That said, there is no room (time) for another group of judges to get this one right, to give us history when history is what we the fans and Bernard “The Executioner” deserve, not to mention, no real desire to do so on the part of Pascal, or his handlers.

They robbed us of what would have been a very significant moment in combat sports. Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, the Middleweight king who defended his crown 20 times, who moved up two divisions to outclass and even knock down Antonio Tarver (of Roy Jones, JR., fame), who then with stumbles mixed in (a close and debatable loss to Joe Calzaghe) took on middleweight stalwart Winky Wright and pure outworked and out skilled him. If that weren’t enough, then he decided to go to a catch weight of 170 pounds and dominate what was the most feared (and undefeated) middleweight around, the hard hitting knockout artist and Undisputed Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik. This man is a story made for movies and you rob us of the coup de grace ending we all coveted?

Bad taste in my mouth would be an understatement. Yeah, I’m a Philadelphian but it wouldn’t matter if I were from the lost city of Atlantis, I would be able to see that robbery from the bottom of the ocean. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Rant over.

You guys need to write letters to Mr. Claude Paquette and Daniel Van De Wiele. Don’t worry about being mean, after they read mine, yours will seem like love poems.

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