By Chris LaBate
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada - A Canadian attendance record was broken, with 17,750 screaming fans packing the venue to watch Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32KOs) make history with a twelve round unanimous decision over Jean Pascal (26-2, 16KOs) to capture the WBC/IBO light heavyweight titles. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 115-114. Hopkins gets revenge after fighting Pascal to a controversial twelve round draw in December.
Hopkins, at age 46, becomes the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title - breaking the record set by a 45-year-old George Foreman in 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moorer to win the heavyweight crown.
They were feeling eachother out in the first round and the pace was slow. They began to take more chances in the second round, but it was still fought at a slow pace with very few punches being thrown and landed by either boxer.
In the third round, both boxers had their moments, but it was Hopkins who landed a good right hand to shake Pascal up. Pascal came back in the fourth round, when he opened up with combinations to push Hopkins back around the ring. In the final twenty seconds, Pascal rocked Hopkins with a hard right hook to send the crowd into a frenzy.
In the fifth, Pascal caught Hopkins with a hard combination. Hopkins was trading with Pascal at times and using rough tactics to frustrate the champion. Hopkins closed well with a good flurry.
Hopkins was leading with right hands in the sixth. He dominated the action with right hands that were finding their mark every time. In the seventh, Pascal was angry with some of Hopkins tactics and went after the veteran. He was taunting Hopkins and trying to bait him into a fight. Hopkins continued to throw right hand leads.
Hopkins continued his domination in the eight round, with the same right hand leads. Pascal could not figure out a way to prevent Hopkins from landing his right hand. In the ninth, Hopkins was still landing his right hand and started to mix it up by landing the left hook.
In the tenth, Hopkins was outboxing Pascal with movement and right hands. Hopkins landed a hard right hand that almost twisted Pascal around. The champion was being dominated for nearly the entire three minutes.
The eleventh round was very rough with a lot of holding and grappling. They were trading punches at the end of the round. Pascal started a rally in the final twenty seconds but Hopkins was smothering a lot of the punches by holding him close.
They were holding at the start of the twelfth round. They were trading punches in the second minute. Hopkins was more than willing to trade with the younger man. In the final minute, Pascal rocked him again with the right hand. Hopkins held on and got himself out of trouble. Pascal made the mistake of not following up to further hurt Hopkins.