Doug Fischer of The Ring reports today that a May date is close for a rematch between world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and the legendary Bernard Hopkins, and the HBO-televised event would also feature Chad Dawson in a co-feature bout.
Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KO) and Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KO) went to a controversial draw in Quebec City in December, a fight that Showtime televised after there was no open date on HBO for that late in the year. Pascal's biggest win came last August over Chad Dawson, netting him the vacant Ring Magazine light heavyweight championship of the world in a pretty big upset. That fight was on HBO, who have invested time and money into the career of Dawson. It seems that either HBO didn't lack interest in Pascal-Hopkins as some suspected, but simply didn't have a date, or they're now feeling the pressure of Showtime's power plays and are looking to grab as many marquee fights as they can. There's also talk of HBO picking up the April 30 fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Dereck Chisora, which would mark the first Klitschko brothers fight on American television since Vitali's December 2009 win over Kevin Johnson, which aired on HBO on tape delay.
This also clears up a lot of the speculation going on with the three fighters. The WBC ordered a Pascal-Hopkins rematch, while Dawson and promoter Gary Shaw seemed adamant about enforcing the contractual rematch clause they had with Pascal. If it all goes through as it seems is the case right now, Dawson (29-1, 17 KO) would face either Adrian Diaconu (27-2, 15 KO) or Librado Andrade (29-3, 22 KO), with the winners of the two fights meeting later in the year.
Despite the controversy in December, Golden Boy is willing to take Hopkins back to Canada, where the fight will make by far the most money it possibly can at the live gate. They will ask the Canadian Boxing Commission for neutral judges and a neutral referee, which I can't imagine would be a big problem unless Pascal or his promoter Yvon Michel object. Schaefer is attempting to paint the picture that the fight could sell anywhere, but Hopkins' last few fights on American soil haven't sold at all, and Pascal has almost no name still. The fight belongs in Canada, where they did well the first time.