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Jean Pascal: the pressure is on Bernard Hopkins

Light heavyweight opponents Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins

Light heavyweight opponents Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins face off at pre-fight press conference. Thursday, December 9. Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

Hearing boxers calling out other fighters has become passé these days. So much so that it’s often taken with a grain of salt.

WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal made his obligatory “call out” of Bernard Hopkins after stopping Chad Dawson last summer.

“It’s going to be a good start for me to beat a legend to become a legend one day,” Pascal said when asked about calling out Hopkins. “Hopkins was the name out there, was the big name and that’s why I chose to fight him, because I want to fight the best and prove that I’m the best.”

Calling out a guy is one thing. Beating him is an entirely different story. When Pascal stopped Dawson, it was viewed as an upset by most boxing observers. Pascal, a relatively untested fighter at the time, didn’t have any signature wins to speak of, so he was the underdog.

That won’t be the case when he steps into the ring with Hopkins on December 18. Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) will be fighting in his hometown of Quebec City. Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) said the pressure will be on Pascal to please the hometown faithful. Pascal feels otherwise.

“Honestly, I don’t feel that way because this time Bernard has the pressure,” he said. “For the first time, he has the pressure because if you read the magazines, if you read the newspaper, a lot of people in the States think that Bernard is going to beat me. Bernard has to back it up, his legacy.”

Pascal, 28, went on to say that he can come back after a loss because of his youth. While that may be true, Hopkins has ended the career of several fighters. His dominating win over Felix Trinidad in 2001 all but halted his career. Trinidad was 27 at the time.

He did the same to a then-up and coming Kelly Pavlik in 2008.

“I’m too green to be the teacher, to teach the teacher,” Pascal said. “I’m the student. He’s the teacher. He made history. He can remake history and me, I have nothing to prove.”

New York Sports