Bernard Hopkins traveled outside the United States for a fight -- something he said he'd never do again back in the 1990s -- and was robbed of a title win over Canadian Jean Pascal in Quebec, Canada.
Only one month shy of his 46th birthday, Hopkins should have become the oldest man to win a major championship boxing belt (beating George Foreman's record), but the fight was ruled a majority draw.
While Pascal floored Hopkins twice in the first three rounds, including one questionable knockdown from an illegal punch to the back of the head, the American stormed back and seemingly won round after round as the 28-year-old Pascal tired. Using masterful ring knowledge, a nasty left hook and punishing body shots, Hopkins overcame the early deficit and took command of the fight. In fact, Hopkins repeatedly taunted Pascal, who didn't respond with anything of substance.
But in a stirring 12th round, both fighters traded power shots and raised their hands in triumph. Hopkins said he won the fight -- and that the first knockdown shouldn't have counted. Meanwhile, Pascal argued he won the fight.
Technically, neither man did. But Pascal is clearly wrong. After the first four rounds, it really wasn't close. Hopkins' work rate was far more impressive -- and he shed his reputation of being a bland fighter. Saturday night, he proved himself a phenomenal athlete and fought a compelling fight that had the crowd roaring at the end.
American judge Steve Morrow scored it 114-112 for Hopkins, but Canadian Claude Paquette (113-113) and Belgium's Daniel Van de Wiele (114-114) had it even, which made it a technical draw and allowed Pascal to keep his WBC and IBO light heavyweight titles.