For the previous prediction of the fight, click here.
Jean Pascal M-D Bernard Hopkins [Showtime]
Original Prediction: Hopkins, UD
In what was a much better fight than imagined, Bernard Hopkins took it to Jean Pascal, who was ahead after Round 4 following knockdowns in the first (more of a rabbit punch than anything else) and third (legit). Pascal fought a little better and was carrying less muscle than in the Dawson fight, and also used his aggression more smartly, though concurrently, he seemed reluctant to press the action in a more consistent fashion. Hopkins, on the other hand, was beginning to show frustration after the knockdowns and with his inability keep in step with the quicker champion. However, his near-exclusive targeting of the body from the second round on was beginning to play dividends, as Pascal was visibly uncomfortable from it, even from the outset. From round six to the end, Hopkins fought more assertively and like a man on a mission--and he had to, after the early setbacks. For whatever reason, Pascal appeared gunshy and barely did anything of note as Hopkins outworked him and plied his mastery with his body movement and shot landings, as well as his tightly-packed defense (though Pascal would show more life in the final two rounds).
While the bout as a whole was not perceived to be that close, the two knockdowns, statistically, made it so. Discounting the first one alone would have meant victory for Hopkins on the scorecards (or maybe if judge Daniel Van de Wiele scored the tenth for him, like the other two, and not 10-10, but I digress…). Whatever the cause or debate, it can be difficult to make up that gap no matter how well you are doing (just ask Juan Manuel Marquez…). That said, once that fire was lit under him, the veteran came out dead-serious in the sixth and did what he could to make his case and takeover the match. Given he was on Pascal's home-soil and in there with a Canadian referee (not laying blame on the country solely, as there should always be a neutral one in big matches like this), coming out with a majority draw with the majority of the people believing you had won is still a pretty big accomplishment for a 45-year-old on towards the end of his career, and facing someone bigger, faster, stronger, and nearly 20 years younger. Hey, it beats a loss.
And speaking of that bigger, faster, stronger guy, what happened to Pascal? He had the definite advantage in the ring and if he pressed himself and the fight more, he could have stopped Hopkins and make a big name of himself. He started off well, but then acted like he couldn't do a thing for much of the rest of it. It was clear that Pascal was very wary of Hopkins from the get-go and when he began to kick it in gear, he retreated. Pascal has the physical attributes and a bit of promise, but with how things played out here and with Dawson, I think he could benefit from a change in trainers. His mindset and uninspiring form will not do him favors for long…
Those behind the scenes are pushing for a rematch, though I don't see that materializing on Pascal's part unless the money's right. Hopkins could pull it off again…unless the former realizes all the opportunities he missed Saturday night.