UPDATE: As I was putting this together, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported on his Twitter page that there is an investigation of the scorecards going on.
Controversy: There is white out on two spots on the official scorecard. Looking at original now.
What I'm seeing, someone whited out the eighth round in Canadian judge card. Bernard would have won the fight ... There is also white out on the first round on the Belgian's card. If that was corrected, Hopkins would have lost his card. But won on two.
From what it looks--repeat, looks--like the changes cost Hopkins. But we don't know the source of the whiteout yet. Officials investigating
Bernard Hopkins turns 46 in January. And for the first time in three fights, he didn't look his age tonight against light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.
Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KO) overcame two knockdowns in the first three rounds, the first of which was a bad call by the referee on a rabbit punch, to largely dominate his fight with Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KO). But the judges scorecards came back 114-112 for Hopkins, 113-113 and 114-114, resulting in a majority draw.
After the fight, Hopkins of course said he felt he'd won. Pascal said the same, but the younger man's conviction wasn't the same as Bernard's. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-111 for Hopkins, and while I don't think I'd call this a robbery, I will say that I personally definitely felt Bernard Hopkins won this fight. I gave him every round after the first three, which I had as a sweep for Pascal, with two 10-8 rounds involved. Had I scored the first 10-9 for Pascal instead, I'd have just had it 116-111 for Bernard, so that wasn't an important swing for me.
It was a classic Bernard Hopkins performance. In the third round, when Hopkins was legitimately knocked down on a good left hook, I thought Bernard's face was saying, "Well, I think I'm finally too old."
But it wasn't. Bernard came out in the fourth and took full control of the fight. In a few rounds, Pascal looked clearly defeated mentally, laying off the gas pedal entirely and just fighting so tentatively that it made you wonder if he was even trying to win anymore. Hopkins ate some leather along the way, and maybe a couple of those last nine rounds that I gave to Hopkins could have gone Pascal's way. I didn't see it that way, but I'm sure a couple of them could have gone Jean's way. But it was Bernard Hopkins' fight from the start of round four on through the end, including a 12th round mini-war where both guys threw, though nobody was landing a ton.
As for a rematch, I don't think you'd be wise to expect one. Bernard is not going to go back to Quebec to fight, and Pascal would be leaving money on the table to fight Hopkins anywhere else. This fight will only draw in Quebec. Hopkins is not a gate-mover, never really has been, certainly isn't now.
The thing to really dwell on and remember from tonight is that Bernard Hopkins showed he can still do it. Against Enrique Ornelas he was rusty and fought his age. Against Roy Jones Jr. he just didn't look good in any way, and looked old. But he got up for Pascal. Every time he does this is one less time he can do it, so in that regard I'm disappointed that he didn't get the win, which would have made him the oldest fighter to ever win a major recognized world title, topping George Foreman. I feel he deserved it. But it was not, pardon the pun, in the cards tonight.
On the Undercard
- Paul Malignaggi TKO-6 Michael Lozada: In Malignaggi's official welterweight debut (actually both weighed in a bit over 148), the Brooklyn native sliced up the veteran Lozada to score his first stoppage win since 2003. Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KO) was also making his debut as a Golden Boy fighter, and I'm sure they're hoping to get the remaining miles of his career from him, whether that means using him as a draw in the New York area or feeding him to young fighters, although they really don't have anyone in their stable at 147 worth doing that with at the moment. Malignaggi's 30, has taken lots of punishment, and has unreliable hands, so don't expect a lot. But Paulie will fight until he can't anymore. I'm sure of that.
- Daniel Jacobs TKO-5 Jesse Orta: Jacobs (21-1, 18 KO) scores the pure rebound win over Orta (7-14-2, 4 KO). I still do like Jacobs as a middleweight prospect, but then I never thought he was going to be a worldbeater.
- Peter Quillin KO-1 Martin Desjardins: Quillin (22-0, 16 KO) is a prospect who has faded from the spotlight quite a bit with injuries and other inactivity. This was a nothing win over a can, but it's good to see him back. Hopefully 2011 is a better year.
- Tyson Fury UD-8 Zack Page: Good win for Fury (13-0, 9 KO), who took shutout scores over veteran Page (21-33-2, 7 KO), who doesn't look like much on paper and really isn't very good or anything like that, but still might be Fury's best win. Page also just fought two weeks ago against Manuel Charr in Germany.
- Kevin Bizier TKO-3 Ronnie Warrior Jr.: Bizier improves to 13-0 (9 KO).