May 13, 2011

Foreman: Hopkins must KO Pascal to break my record!‏

By Jeffrey Freeman -- Legendary former two-time Heavyweight Champion of the World George Foreman addressed the media yesterday via international conference call in promotion of the upcoming Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins Light Heavyweight Championship rematch, scheduled for May 21st in Montreal, Canada and airing on HBO. Hopkins, at age 46, is attempting for the second time to become the oldest boxer to win a legitimate world title in any division. That record is currently held by George Foreman who was 45 years old when he knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994 to regain the heavyweight title in a stunning upset. In his first attempt to break the record, Hopkins was held to a controversial draw by the Canadian Pascal last year in Quebec City.

Big George Foreman insisted that Bernard Hopkins must KO Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal in order to truly break his record.

"These fights are not won by decisions. Hopkins should look for the knockout like I did when I fought Michael Moorer. There is no way I could be in the record books without that one-two knockout punch. Bernard Hopkins must get it by way of knockout. He must realize that my record will not be broken on a unanimous decision. There must be a knockout."

That's a tall order for Bernard Hopkins, who is not exactly known for his knockout punch or aggressive style. Hopkins is much more of a technician in the ring, one who seems to enjoy distance fights that give him the opportunity to showcase his unparalleled boxing skills. When KO's do come, Hopkins creates knockouts, he doesn't look for them. Foreman of course, was a legendary knockout artist who is well known for his knockouts of Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Gerry Cooney, and of course Michael Moorer. Big George was a huge underdog (literally and figuratively) when he challenged Heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer in 1994. People said that George was too slow and too old for Moorer - that he stood no chance but the proverbial puncher's chance. Despite being outboxed by Moorer for most of the fight, Foreman never stopped trying for the knockout and in the 10th round it finally came in the form of a devastating right hand from Big George that instantly relieved Michael Moorer of not only his senses, but the Heavyweight Championship of the World.
There is actually some interesting historical precedence in the career of Bernard Hopkins to justify George's insistence on a Hopkins KO, or at least a Hopkins that is looking for the KO, as George always did in his career.

In 1994, Bernard Hopkins traveled to Ecuador to challenge the Ecuadorian Segundo Mercado for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The usually sturdy chinned Hopkins was knocked down twice in that fight and held to a draw. Sound familiar? It should because in the first Pascal fight, which was held in Pascal's home town of Quebec City Canada, Hopkins was -you guessed it- knocked down twice and held to a draw. Hopkins fought Mercado again in his next fight less than six months later - this time, wisely, in the United States. Hopkins stopped Mercardo in seven rounds, taking it out of the hands of the judges, and winning his first world title.

This rematch is not being held in the United States however. Hopkins is again fighting Pascal in Pascal's backyard, this time in Montreal. Some have suggested this was not a wise decision on the part of Hopkins, and that he will have nobody to blame but himself if he comes up on the wrong end of another so-called "hometown" decision.

George Foreman knows that the best way to avoid a hometown decision is to score a knockout!

Can Hopkins do it? Can he overcome Pascal's home ring advantage and get the KO over Pascal to break the record the way Foreman says it must be broken?

Big George seems to think so, "I thought such a record would last a lot longer than it has lasted."