Unlike last week's Quick Pick, I had no intention at all to do a write-up on tonight's match-up between WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal and future-HOFer Bernard Hopkins. Why? Just like Jones-Hopkins II, I haven't been pumped about it, nor do I see it as being all that important, despite Hopkins' quest to become the oldest boxer to win a world title (45, and Hopkins is one of, if not my most, favorite fighter--off-color comments aside…). In addition are two potentially vital points: 1) Pascal is rather mediocre, if his sloppy win over Chad Dawson was any indication. He has great looking body, but having bulky muscles often translates to dwindling stamina over the course of the fight, which was also apparent in that bout. He has some decent skill and promise, but there is a good reason why Hopkins, at his age, chose him. 2) In spite of B-Hops being the bastion of fitness and technical prowess for many years, his recent fights and less-toned body signal that he is indeed on the decline, victories be darned. While his less-than-best can beat many young guns, Father Time is finally beginning to collect his dues, and even a wild-punching, inaccurate Pascal can win by being the more active of the two, or hitting pay dirt--plus, he has quick hands, which have been Hopkins' weakness.
However, unless he has tightened his skills and realized some of his potential, Hopkins should be able to put on another boxing clinic by playing the matador to Pascal's bull (or he may reverse that and pull off another "raging bull" surprise, like he did against Kelly Pavlik and Antonio Tarver). Never count out a hungry youngster with speed and power who wants to prove himself in front of his Quebec hometown, but don't ignore a wily veteran and long-time student of the game with an attention to conditioning and a mission on his mind, either.
Prediction: Hopkins, UD. (Despite my reservations, this is actually not that easy a bout to predict, given Pascal's greenness and Hopkins' diminishing goods. However, I think the former's detriment will be greater. Probably a brisk pace on the outset before settling down in the middle and towards the end, before it possibly picks up in Rds 11-12. Pascal could stop Hopkins, but it depends on how much he has advanced…and that's a lot of ground to cover (if he does, either TKO8, or UD if Hopkins is competitive enough, but at a physical disadvantage). Be prepared for lots of clinching and ugly action, though…)