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AGING, BUT UNWAVERING HOPKINS GEARS UP FOR PASCAL REMATCH

By Mark F. Villanueva | February 10, 2011
AGING, BUT UNWAVERING HOPKINS GEARS UP FOR PASCAL REMATCH

Just when you think you're most able and strong, life has a way of surprising you from weird angles. The blows you don't see coming are always the hardest to deal with and that's how I've learned never to become overconfident about anything. You need to keep that guard up, move away, and move around, at least until after the pain becomes bearable and you regain yourself. Yes, it's been a rough and difficult year so far. I'm wobbled and standing on rubbery legs, but I'm circling the ring to keep the fight going. When I think of overcoming adversity, I think of a man I admire for good reason. I think of Bernard Hopkins, that Philadelphian who bounced back from a life of crime and imprisonment to become a future Hall of Fame boxer, famous for his ten-year reign as Middleweight champion of the world.

Nobody weathers the storm like Bernard Humphrey Hopkins Jr. and his fight against Canadian Jean Pascal last December 18, 2010 reminds me of his tenacious nature. After he was knocked down in the first (albeit a very controversial one) and third round by a champion almost half his age who was fighting with more agility and speed, Hopkins stood his ground. I reckon he's the type of person who sticks to the basics when under duress. He exhibited calmness when ordinary men under such circumstances would have panicked. It took him time to measure the current WBC, IBO and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight world champion, but he kept an uncanny cool under pressure, taking it one step at a time. Alas, weathering the storm seems to be becoming a tougher task for the now 46-year-old warrior, but when he finally got his tempo going, he sure made the youthful Canadian champion dance to his tune and took care of the majority of the rounds. Looking back to that fight, it wasn't the skillful display that charmed me watching Hopkins fight that day; it was his unwavering personality.

The fight may have been decided a majority draw and Pascal remained the champion, but Bernard Hopkins won in our hearts. In championship matches, a contender has to really take the fight away from the champion and not merely edge it. I believe Hopkins won that bout and had it not been a championship fight, he might have been awarded the victory.

Controversy aside, let bygones be bygones. The future for Bernard Hopkins is taking its form in a rematch with Pascal this coming May 21st in the champion's hometown of Quebec City, Canada. It shall be a time to correct the wrong and settle the issues that surrounded the first fight. Hopkins seems as determined as he's ever been, but he's also not as fast or as physically capable as he was in his youth. Those advantages go to the younger champion in Jean Pascal, yet Bernard is one of a kind. He's like aged wine. He has qualities that seem to show stronger in time.

Many expect the rematch to be as exciting as the first bout, but let me say that with Hopkins' boxing I.Q., he has probably figured out Pascal by now.

DECEMBER 12, 2019
DECEMBER 11, 2019