After years of whining and moaning following his losses, it was finally refreshing to watch Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32Kos) fight without having to listen to the usual drivel afterwards. The reason for this of course is because he finally won a fight that he deserved to on May 21st.
The 46-year-old Hopkins earned the right to be called the WBC Light Heavyweight Champion after beating 28-year-old Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16Kos) in his adopted home town of Montreal, Canada. Along with the belt, Hopkins also became the oldest world champion in boxing history, eclipsing the former record set by George Foreman.
This was a rematch of last December’s affair in Quebec City, in which Hopkins and Pascal fought to a 12-round majority draw. As usual, Hopkins wasn’t happy with any decision that went against him and let everybody know about it with his constant bitching, even though it was the right decision.
Hopkins was decked a couple of times early in that fight and had a huge hole to dig out of. But instead of being proud of the fact that he did dig his way out and fought to a draw, he spewed the usual nonsense about being robbed.
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A rematch was inevitable, and curiously, Showtime, who broadcast the first fight, didn’t want any part of the second one and HBO picked it up. Hopkins was confident he could beat Pascal after their first meeting and to his credit, he did just that. He never really hurt the younger fighter and actually got staggered himself a couple of times, but there couldn’t be any arguing over the scores of 116-112, 115-114, and 115-113.
It was a fine display of boxing and Hopkins has finally realized he needs to throw punches if he wants to win decisions these days, because it’s highly unlikely he’s going to be knocking anybody out. Beating a world champion 18 years his junior is nothing to sneeze at and Hopkins deserves all the credit in the world for his win. Pascal isn’t the toughest guy out there, despite his record, and Hopkins used the right game plan to beat him.
Pascal’s not a hard puncher though and he’s too wild with his shots, but he still rocked Hopkins a couple of times and dropped him in the first fight. This is something the new champion should take into consideration when choosing his next opponent. He needs to stay away from hard-hitting boxers who keep the pressure up for the entire three minutes of a round. He said he wants Lucian Bute or Chad Dawson, with Bute being the safer bet.
After watching Hopkins fight for the last 20 years or so, he seems to be an okay guy, but his crying routine after losses was getting on a lot of people’s nerves. He said he’s going to change his style to a more entertaining one and he should win back some of his former fans if he does. Nobody begrudges a guy who puts in an honest effort and that’s what Hopkins has been lacking in recent years, especially in his losses to Jermain Taylor, where he threw just a handful of punches each round.
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Hopkins showed the world what can be achieved if you take care of yourself and possess the right combination of skill and experience, no matter how old you are. He’s still in great shape and could possibly fight for a few more years. But we won’t know if he’s really grown up until the next time he loses.