The inspiration was the legendary light-heavyweight boxer Archie Moore, who came to Montreal to fight the much-younger Yvon Durelle in 1958.
A natural enough parallel for 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins, a multiple world champion in two different weight classes who was trying to make history in the Bell Centre on Saturday.
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And make it he did.
In a carbon copy of his first fight with Jean Pascal, Hopkins weathered the early storm and then took control of the bout as the night wore on, punishing the man 18 years his junior with a relentless onslaught.
Hopkins (52-5-2) is the oldest man to win a world boxing title, and one of the oldest individual athletes to win a world championship.
“I didn't feel like I was 46 tonight, I felt more like 36,” Hopkins said. “I can say I'm a great fighter, it was exciting, I think everybody enjoyed themselves.”
The judges each had Hopkins ahead on points after the 12th round, the cards read 115-113, 116-112, 115-114.
Despite a late charge from WBC title-holder Pascal of Montreal – with a packed Bell Centre standing and his corner furiously urging him on – Hopkins did enough to win.
The result was greeted with boos, but Montreal’s boxing public is sophisticated enough to know, in their heart of hearts, that Pascal didn’t do enough to win And at the end, the bewildered Pascal briefly refused to hand his title belts over.
“Bernard fought a great fight, he’s a great champion . . . he has a great defence and knows a lot of tricks,” a deflated Pascal said after the bout. “These two fights will lead me to the next level, I learned a lot from Bernard and his style.”
Hopkins’ will go down as a performance for the ages, where he out-boxed a younger, fitter man – although in fairness the crafty veteran has taken up permanent residence in Pascal’s head with a relentless psychological barrage.
Against almost any other fighter, Pascal would surely have won for the home town crowd..
Hopkins entered first to a personalized version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” – complete with sequine-clad back-up singers waiting for him in the ring.
Pascal, the champion, was escorted to the ring by a pair of rappers, and brushed past Hopkins, who was wearing his customary black balaclava, in the centre of the ring.
Pascal then confronted the 46-year-old, opening his black-and-gold robe to reveal a t-shirt that read “Are you willing to take the test?” – a reference to Pascal’s earlier allegations that Hopkins uses performance-enhancing drugs.
Hopkins smirked and gave him a light shove.
For all the tension and atmosphere, neither boxer landed a meaningful in the first round.
The second was more eventful, with Pascal landing a brisk combination and Hopkins counter-punching, late in the round he slipped a lunging Pascal right and landed a couple of quick rights of his own.
In the third, Pascal rocked Hopkins with a solid left hand, but Hopkins soon retaliated with a flurry that hurt the champion.
Pascal had vowed to put Hopkins away in four – and after a sedate opening to the round Hopkins stuck his tongue out at Pascal, which prompted the champion to unleash a furious barrage of shots, none of which did much damage.
But as the round came to a close, Pascal landed a combination that seemed to do some damage.
In the sixth round, Hopkins again taunted the 28-year-old champion by flicking his tongue and by hitting him during clinches and leaning on him – at the bell, Hopkins said something to Pascal and turned away, although it clearly incensed the Montreal figher, who tried to get at the challenger before being shepherded away by the officials.