The inspirational effort Bernard Hopkins put forth against Jean Pascal on Saturday in Quebec City, Canada was not enough to lift THE RING light heavyweight title from the 18-years-younger champ to become the oldest fighter ever to win a major title but it was enough to vault the 45-year-old veteran to the No. 1 spot in the magazine’s 175-pound ratings.
Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 knockouts), who got up from two early round knockdowns and outworked Pascal to a controversial majority draw, had slipped to No. 4 in THE RING’s light heavyweight ratings following unimpressive outings against Enrique Ornelas and Roy Jones Jr.
However, with his gritty performance against Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs), a 2-to-1 favorite who beat then-No. 1 contender Chad Dawson for THE RING title in August, Hopkins more than made up for those two lackluster outings and reminded fans how special he is.
Most observers believe Hopkins, who turns 46 in January, deserved to win the fight. Hopkins is chief among them.
“Now that I have had the chance to review the fight on tape, I clearly know I won that fight,” Hopkins said in a statement released on Monday. “Jean Pascal, his corner and all of the Canadians in the arena and on television know I won the fight too. The crowd was loud in the beginning but the silence was deafening as I dominated Pascal from the middle rounds all the way to the end of the fight.”
Punch statistics compiled by Sports Media for Showtime, which aired the bout in the U.S., appear to support Hopkins’ opinion of the fight. At the very least, the stats indicate the former middleweight and light heavyweight champ’s textbook precision and amazing athleticism for a fighter in his mid-40s.
Hopkins threw a total of 445 punches. He landed 141 power shots, more than 50 percent of the 270 he threw. Pascal threw 100 less punches than Hopkins with 353 total shots, landing only 85 of the 196 power shots he threw.
“I am sure he is still hanging his head today to think he let a 45-year-old man beat him up the way I did,” Hopkins said. “If I were him, I would want to redeem myself and my reputation immediately after what happened Saturday night.”
If Hopkins get the immediate rematch he covets it probably won’t happen until the legend is midway through his 46th year but he’ll enter the ring as both the betting and sentimental favorite as well as recognition as the No. 1 contender.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Denis Lebedev (No. 5 last week) advances to No. 4 due to his strong showing against Marco Huck (currently No. 2). Lebedev’s move up pushes down Troy Ross (No. 4 last week) to No. 5.
Hopkins (No. 4 last week) zooms up to No. 1 on the strength of his remarkable 12-round draw with world champion Jean Pascal. Dawson (No. 1 last week) drops to No. 3, and Glen Johnson (No. 3 last week) slips to No. 4 due to the realignment.
Paul Malignaggi (No. 8 last week) exits as he is now campaigning at welterweight. Malignaggi’s departure allows Lamont Peterson (No. 9 last week) and Victor Ortiz (No. 10 last week) to climb one rung each, respectively, and makes room for Paul McCluskey to enter at No. 10.