By Michael Marley
Globetrotting boxing agent Donald Majeski is on the scene in Montreal where, on Saturday night a lively crowd of 16,000 plus fight fans will see a rematch between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins for the WBC/IBO light heavyweight titles. One interesting angle to the fight is the selection of judges from The Philippines, Thailand and Italy to go along with a referee from the United Kingdom.
The WBC has gone to great lengths to avoid any accusations of Quebec favoritism for Pascal in this light heavyweight title bout. If hunches were lunches, I’d never go hungry.
My thought is - Hopkins, age 46 but a spry 46 - will take the Quebec fighter the 12 round limit like he did in Quebec City on December 18. Back then, Hopkins overcame two knockdowns to get a draw in a fight most nonpartisans, myself included, felt he won. The boxing bookies have Pascal a slight 7-5 favorite presumably because he's on home grounds but the seeming neutrality of the four selected officials seems to negate that.
Some wise guy even put a number for another draw outcome, you bet one dollar to win $2,200. Somebody put me down for $100 on that enticing prop.
BHop's Hall Of Fame resume shows him at 51-5-2, 32 KOs, while Pascal is a relative novice at 26-1-1, 16 knockouts.
As for Pascal-BHop II, I think Hopkins will avoid hitting the deck and do enough to merit a split decision. But I checked in with Majeski, who advises promoter Yvon Michel (Pascal) for his take on the situation. Majeski admitted not beating the much older man this time would hurt the 19 years younger Pascal’s career.
“You don’t beat a 46 year old guy in back to back fights then I guess it would say Pascal is not as good as we thought,” the College Points, Queens, resident said after the official weigh in on Friday night. (HBO is showing the rematch, the first bout was on Showtime in the USA.)
“But I think Pascal can start fighting earlier than he did last time. I think he can win more rounds. But Pascal has to improve on what he did in the first fight. I don’t see Hopkins fighting as well as he did the first time, not at his advanced age.”
Majeski said, despite allegations Pascal made and then later withdrew about BHop possibly being a drug cheater, the fight week discourse has been relatively civil.
“Bernard has been his usual bombastic self but he has not been nasty,” Majeski said. “They exchanged some words at the weigh-in and Hopkins was four ounces heavy but no punches were thrown.”
There’s not much cooking among the 175-pounders so I guess, in one way, Old Man River, er I mean Old Man Hopkins, is the light heavyweight straw that stirs the drink.