Fresh off their scuffle on Monday (March 28) in Montreal, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal squared off again yesterday (March 29) for fans and press in New York City.
Pascal retained his WBC light-heavyweight championship last December with a controversial draw in his native Montreal. Despite scoring two knockdowns, Pascal was dominated by Hopkins over the fight’s entire second half.
While he respects Hopkins’ skill, Pascal says the Executioner has made a career out of complaining.
“He pretends that he won the fight. He’s always complaining. He’s always whining. I won the fight,” Pascal maintained. “It was a close fight, but I am not a whiner. You can never call a close fight a robbery. The judges said it was a draw. I took my pill and swallowed it. With this man it is always some other guy’s fault. I am going to tell you something, May 21 he is only going to blame me because this time it is going to be my fault.”
Hopkins still has personal ill will towards Pascal for implying on Monday that he may be on performance enhancing drugs. The former undisputed middleweight champion says the allegation is an insult that may cost Pascal his life.
“Don’t be surprised if he [Pascal] dies in the ring in May. That is how I feel,” Hopkins said. “I mean that. This isn’t hyping up a fight. This is not for any fucking press conference. Don’t be surprised if I kill him…No one has ever accused me of this [taking PEDs]. He tried to recant it in New York. I am going to make sure I win this fight and bring the championship to where it belongs…in Philadelphia. This shows me that he is desperate and that he is nervous… It was real weak and real stupid. He looked like an idiot in front of a packed house trying to come up with something to say. At the end of the day he is going to have to face what he said in Montreal.”
The trainers had their say in the matter as well. Pascal trainer Marc Ramsay feels his fighter is being sold short because of Hopkins’ performance after the two knockdowns. He emphasized that Pascal can build on the first performance by not being overly cautious and giving Hopkins a relaxed pace to work.
“This is the difference between being a winner and a dreamer,” Ramsay explained. “Yesterday they talked about the professor who taught the student. Bernard was saying that Jean didn’t pass the test. The question is, did the professor teach a good class? Did he back up his legacy? You can’t expect to win half a fight, when you spend half the fight on the floor…After what happened after the 18th of December, Jean has no more respect for Bernard. That is going to be the difference in this fight and we are going to close the show this time.”
Hopkins’s trainer Naazim Richardson also expects to see a better Pascal on May 21. But he urged fans and critics to remember they are witnessing greatness every time that Bernard Hopkins steps in the ring.
“This man [Pascal] is going to fight his behind off. He is fighting for legitimacy,” Richardson reflected. “Bernard Hopkins has nothing to prove. Let’s appreciate this man while we have him. When we close this chapter we lose one of the last great fighters. Bernard is the last of the fighters. Let’s celebrate him while we have him, because there are none left.”