Toronto gets taste of Pascal versus Hopkins

Two months from now Quebec City will host a showdown between Montreal’s Jean Pascal and Philadelphia’s Bernard Hopkins for the WBC light-heavyweight boxing title.

Toronto got a press conference.

In the midst of a three-day tour the two fighters, along with their promoters, held a media event at Quinn’s Steakhouse in the Sheraton Hotel to promote their Dec.18 bout at the Pepsi Coliseum.

The tour that began in Quebec City and ended in New York was done to endorse what will be one of the biggest fights held on Canadian soil.

“It’s a very important fight for me,” said Pascal [26-1, 16 KO] to reporters. “Bernard Hopkins [51-5, 32 KO] said he made history, that’s in the past tense. I’m going to make history on Dec. 18.”

Coming into the fight the 27-year-old successfully defended his WBC light-heavyweight title against IBO light-heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, by way of TKO in the 11th round.

The Montreal-native has three title defences under his belt but has yet to matchup against an opponent as experienced as the man known as The Executioner.

Hopkins is 45, and a former world champ in three divisions. He knows that this bout could very well determine his fighting future.

“I understand that this fight is win or go home for me,” Hopkins said to reporters. “There’s really no tomorrow for me … unless I take this fight and I take it impressively and I take it aggressively.

“My career ends [if I lose]. People will be calling for my head.”

Entering the fight, the Philadelphia-native had fought only once in 2010. In a bout against the shell of former light-heavyweight champ Roy Jones Jr., Pascal’s idol, The Executioner handily won by unanimous decision.

In over 20-years of professional fighting Hopkins has yet to be knocked out — a streak he hopes to keep alive.

“I expect an all-out gunslinger’s fight. He’ll be told to jump on me. Why? Because I’m old. But I’ve seen every style in 23 years. The fight will change as soon as he says ‘oops’,” said Hopkins.

“You can’t train for the unknown.”

Despite the added pressure of fighting a legend, the former Canadian middleweight champ feels confident this match will solidify his place amongst the best in boxing today.

“This is my time. I belong with the elite boxers. To be the best in the world, you have to face the best. Bernard Hopkins is a legend,” said Pascal.

If Hopkins does pull off the upset he will surpass George Foreman by just a few weeks as the oldest boxer to win a major world title. Foreman was also 45 when he defeated Michael Moorer in 1994 to become heavyweight champion.

The former middleweight world champ explained that this bout was his ode to all middle-aged folks.

“This is going to be a blueprint for understanding that life’s not over at 40. For all the old guys out there, I’m your motivation and breath of fresh air … your inspiration.”