Pascal floors Hopkins and divides audience
Jean Pascal's WBC title defence last night against challenger Bernard Hopkins has divided fight fans after their collision in chilly Quebec last night at the Pepsi Coliseum - after the fight ended in a majority draw.
Prior to the action, many observers felt that perhaps Bernard's experience and technical ability would wilt under the youth and determination of Pascal. But the Philly legend insisted he was coming to win. He stated that his age was just a number. That he was the teacher and that Pascal was the pupil - along with many other age related clichés.
People were aware of the fact that in the past, Hopkins has been far more entertaining outside the ring, than in it. There was a feeling that the former middleweight champion was 'selling the fight' and counting the bucks already.
But what unfolded last night proved the naysayers wrong and those who were sleeping on Hopkins were reminded for about the fifth time, that the wily old magician still has plenty of magic and trickery for any young wannabe.
Whether you wanted Pascal to win, whether you hated Hopkins and wished he'd hurry up and get whooped by father time - there was no denying that you couldn't help but admire and respect the battling duo of Hopkins and Naz Richardson last night.
Pascal started brash and strong. He lunged in with clubbing venomous punches, flooring Hopkins during a melee on the ropes in the opening round. Hopkins seemed more embarrassed than injured as he grinned his way back to his corner.
The replay showed the thumping shot to be around the side of the head and ear which floored the veteran.
The second and third round was more of the same, with the younger champion being elusive, before leaping in with a flurry of hard shots, hurting Hopkins who was floored yet again during a tussle.
Hopkins got up from the canvas, again looking unhurt and with the expression of a embarrassed man who'd stepped in puppy muck.
By the mid point Pascal's grip on the fight relaxed and Hopkins drew upon all his experience to axe his way back into the fight and took the lion's share of the rounds from the 5th.
As the championship rounds came to a conclusion, Hopkins was in full command of the proceedings. As the final bell rang Hopkins played the jubilant victor in a pantomime to the judges and observers.
Pascal looked forlorn with the way the fight panned out towards the end. Whilst not portraying the image of someone who had lost the fight, he looked more like the man who had the lottery ticket in his hand, only for Hopkins to tear it from his grip.
Would the judges let Hopkins cash it in though? with the manner of the way the first score of 114-112 in favour of Hopkins was read out, you could sense that the judges were at odds with the victor.
With scores of 113-113 and 114-114 announced, the draw was official and the American viewers were incensed and cries of 'robbery' were posted and tweeted across the forums.
Whilst it was subjective, it was certainly no robbery. The memory of Pascal flooring and dominating early had faded in the viewer's mind and they cheered on the veteran as he suddenly became the underdog.
Calls for a rematch have filled the airwaves, but boxing is a business. Without those early knockdowns, Pascal would have been an ex-champion they cry. But the reality is that he landed the telling blows and despite Hopkins' endeavours he still clung to his title.
Pascal called for Hopkins and he got Hopkins. Will Pascal call for him again? well unless Team Pascal can disclose a reason for Pascal's output dropping off alarmingly from the mid point, then the likely answer is they will not.
"I come to Canada and face a 28-year-old guy and I get a draw, at 45.
"You saw a young guy running from an old grandpa. Look at my record - anyone I fought twice I destroyed." concluded Hopkins.
Jean Pascal managed to floor the crafty Hopkins twice which is not to be sniffed at. But the learning curve continues for Pascal.