Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins Preview & Picks

Bernard Hopkins challenges Jean Pascal for the WBC Light Heavyweight title this Saturday in Quebec City, Canada. The fight will be televised by Showtime with coverage starting at 10 pm ET.

Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins
Money Line: Pascal -220; Hopkins +175
WBC Light Heavyweight Title

Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) shook up the light heavyweight division when he upset pound-for-pound contender Chad Dawson in August. A winner in all four of his fights since moving up to 175 lbs, Pascal uses his superior athleticism to stymie his opponents. In a matchup with Hopkins, Pascal will probably have his greatest athletic advantage to date. The 28-year-old Pascal hasn’t fought outside of his home province of Quebec since turning to the light heavyweight division and this fight is no different. The hometown support gave Pascal the courage to stand toe-to-toe with Chad Dawson. It also gave him the confidence to call out Bernard Hopkins, but he ought to be careful what he wishes for.

If Pascal represnts youth and athleticism, then Bernard Hopkins represents cunning and experience. The man who just can’t seem to go away, Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) will be one month away from his 46th birthday when he enters the ring in Quebec City this Saturday. Hopkins is a very methodical boxer, something that Pascal can exploit with his athleticism, but it won’t be the first time Hopkins has stared across at a younger, more explosive fighter. In fact, there is nothing Pascal can do in the ring that Hopkins hasn’t seen before. Hopkins will have an answer for anything that Pascal does. And with his sturdy chin, Hopkins has never been knocked out, Pascal will need to be on top of his game for 12 rounds.

Staff Predictions

Corey Willinger: The fighters who have given Hopkins the most trouble in his career have been those with either exceptional hand speed or pure athleticism. Roy Jones Jr. (in their first meeting in 1993) and Joe Calzaghe had the fast hands that kept Hopkins from taking control of their respective fights, and Jermain Taylor had the size/power tandem necessary to keep Bernard too afraid to throw a punch. Pascal falls somewhere in between all of these attributes. He’s a natural athlete and a good combination puncher. Hopkins has no chance whatsoever of out hustling him, so the ring veteran should find himself in a very tough fight this weekend – the kind he’ll have to think his way through. Bernard knows every trick in the game, while the less experienced Pascal is still picking them up one fight at a time. But Hopkins seemed completely unable to pull the trigger against a beyond shot Jones in their rematch earlier this year, forced to go the distance with a guy Danny Green stopped in a single round. Expect a competitive bout but one that will inevitably see Pascal’s hand raised, thanks to work rate, by a margin of 116-112. And that should be the end of the legendary Bernard Hopkins

Trent Pusey: Pascal should have an easy time with this fight, but the questions remains if he will. Hopkins will not be able to keep up with Pascal, so expect a lot of dirty boxing and rule bending from the future Hall of Famer. Pascal will do just fine as long as he maintains his composure and focus in the ring. Hopkins already got under Pascal’s skin at the press conference, and that is exactly what Pascal needs to avoid in order to come out of this fight a winner. The fight is going the distance, and I see Pascal taking no less than eight rounds.

Paul Magno: Pascal fights the second most cynical fight this year against Hopkins (The first being against Dawson). Against Dawson, Pascal jumped in and ineffectively flurried to win each round and spent the rest of the round circling, circling, circling. Hopkins, at 45, won’t be able to get the timing down. The fact that Chad Dawson was able to shake Pascal up with every decent shot landed, means that Pascal probably has a bag of crystal where his chin should be, at least at 175, but I don’t think Hopkins will be able to get to it. Yes, I will be pulling for Hopkins because Hopkins has earned a lifetime of support, like an over the hill uncle who wants to play in the NFL and goes into one of their open camps. You know he probably won’t make it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still show up to support him.

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