Bernard Hopkins’ ability to fight effectively at 46 years old has raised a lot of questions recently. Most notably from his opponent Jean Pascal, who accused Hopkins of using performance enhancing drugs at a press conference in March.
Pascal has since backed off those comments. Well, sort of.
Said Pascal: “I don't think Bernard's cheating. I said that at the press conference, "Bernard, I know you're a clean fighter." He said "who am I to ask him that?" I wasn't going to be disrespectful. I just wanted to make sure that the fans' voices were heard to let them know that we participate in a clean sport. That's it.”
But the damage was already done. Hopkins hasn’t forgotten anything Pascal said.
“My opponents keep giving me reasons to stay motivated,” Hopkins said. “Right now I have a guy saying that I have been cheating. At the end of the day, that is motivation.”
If Pascal was just trying to hype the fight, he’s doing a good job. But if he thinks he’s getting under Hopkins’ skin, not likely. It takes a lot more than a few accusations to rattle a fighter of Hopkins’ age and skill. The thought here is that Hopkins will be the same fight he’s always been.
"The word 'discipline' speaks volumes about my life and my career. The magic number 46 dictates how long the fire has burned in my belly,” said Hopkins. "I am here today because of genetics, because of talent and mostly because of my good decisions.”
Pascal (26-1-1) and Hopkins (51-5-2) will square off on Saturday night for the former’s WBC light heavyweight title on HBO’s Championship Boxing. A win for Hopkins will make him the oldest fighter to have a championship belt.
A Pascal victory would set him up for a big payday in a proposed rematch with Chad Dawson (29-1), who will take on Adrian Diaconu on the undercard.