WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1) will meet former undisputed Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2) in a rematch, May 21, on HBO. They fought to a controversial majority draw in a title fight in December of last year, and a rematch was issued by WBC President Jose Sulaiman.
In the first fight, Pascal had an early lead, dropping Hopkins twice in Rounds 1 and 3. Hopkins fought back through the majority of the bout, but the early knockdowns proved to be the difference in the fight. Many ringside experts had Hopkins leading on the scorecards after the final round.
Pascal was in the running for "Fighter of the Year" after he came off a technical decision win over previously undefeated Chad Dawson in August. Just shy of his 46th birthday, Bernard Hopkins was looking to become the oldest champion in the history of the sport if he could make it past Pascal.
Neither fighter fulfilled these defining moments in their careers, but will be looking to when they meet again this year.
It should be an intriguing and better fight this time, because both fighters know what they did wrong in the first fight and what adjustments need to be made.
Pascal stepped off the gas early in their first meeting after gaining an early lead with the knockdowns. He may not have the early knockdowns to build off of if Hopkins can get into this fight faster, so expect a different fight this time around.
Bernard Hopkins vs Jean Pascal 2...Who takes it?
Hopkins' plans, if he succeeds against Pascal, will focus on fights with Chad Dawson and undefeated Lucian Bute, which could be big PPV events.
Chad Dawson (29-1-1) will also be featured in a comeback fight against Adrian Diaconu (27-2) or Librado Andrade (29-3). Diaconu is coming off a 10-round decision win over Omar Sheika after losing twice to Jean Pascal in 2009.
Andrade fought once in 2010, stopping Eric Lucas in Round 8. His most notable fights, all losses, came twice against Lucian Bute and once versus Mikkel Kessler.
This will be the most important night of the year for the light heavyweight division, if the division's three best fighters are featured all on the same card.