The anticipated rematch between RING light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and former champ Bernard Hopkins is getting closer to being finalized, Hopkins’ promoter Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com.
Pascal-Hopkins II would take place in May at a location to be determined and televised on HBO (in the U.S.), according to Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. Due to the controversial nature of the first fight, the site of the rematch is one of the final sticking points in the negotiations between Golden Boy Promotions and Pascal’s promoter, Yvon Michel.
Hopkins, who turned 46 in January, almost became the oldest boxer to win a major world title when he held Pascal to a majority draw in December in the champion’s home province of Quebec, Canada. Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 knockouts) got up from two early knockdowns to soundly outwork Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) over the second half of the bout and win the Showtime-televised fight in the eyes of most observers, including official judge Steve Morrow.
However, two judges scored the bout a draw, including Claude Paquette of Canada. Hopkins was upset with referee Michael Griffin, also of Canada, who counted the first knockdown after the veteran took a blow to the back of the head.
“Bernard is on board with the terms (of the rematch), as is Yvon Michel; everybody is on the same page, but the location of the bout still has to be settled,” said Schaefer. “We are willing to go back to Canada for the rematch if the Canadian boxing commission agrees to have neutral judges and referee.
“Bernard doesn’t mind going back to Canada. He was warmly welcomed there, and the fans treated him well after the fight. However, Bernard is a legend and with his quest to become the oldest lineal champion in boxing, maybe in all of sports, we think the rematch would sell well anywhere.”
Given the drama and controversy of the first fight, a rematch was a natural conclusion. However, Pascal owed Chad Dawson a return bout.
The 28-year-old Haitian won the vacant RING title with an 11-round technical decision over Dawson last August. But there was a rematch clause in their contract. Pascal was allowed to have one interim bout (Hopkins) but then he had to tangle with Dawson once more provided HBO, the network that televised Dawson-Pascal, was interested in the rematch.
It turns out HBO is more interested in Pascal-Hopkins II, as was Showtime. HBO had an earlier available date for the match.
“Showtime had no dates available for the fight until late July,” said Schaefer. “Hopkins is at a stage in his career where he doesn’t want to sit around and wait.”
HBO also had a slot for Dawson, who is tentatively scheduled to fight in the televised co-feature to Pascal-Hopkins II, Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw, told RingTV.com.
Dawson’s purse and opponent still need to be worked out but Shaw is confident that a deal will be reached with the network. The two front runners to be Dawson’s opponent are super middleweight contender Librado Andrade, who is well known in Quebec, and former light heavyweight beltholder Adrian Diaconu, according to both Shaw and Schaefer.
Both Schaefer and Shaw say the winners of Pascal-Hopkins and Dawson’s fight will face each other.
“That’s the plan,” said Schaefer. “It will almost be like a little light heavyweight tournament.”