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Boxing Preview: Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins Rematch

The season's most anticipated rematch takes place tonight at Montreal's Bell Center as WBC and IBO light heavyweight kingpin Jean Pascal once again tangles with the seemingly ageless Bernard Hopkins.

The pair first rumbled this past December in Quebec City and the early rounds belonged to the champion Pascal, at 28 far younger than the 46 year old Hopkins, who put the veteran down twice during the first four frames before Hopkins came back strongly in the second half of the bout, using Pascal's exhaustion to good effect.

The result was a majority draw that allowed Pascal to keep his titles and the verdict incensed Hopkins, who has spent the entire pre-fight build up to the rematch vowing to right what he sees as a wrong decision by the judges in Quebec City.

For tonight's clash, Pascal is again the favorite but if he is to retain his belts he'll have to wage a far more mature contest as he is unlikely to KO the challenger with a barrage attack as was discovered in the first bout.

Pascal, 26-1-1 (16), must use a more measured approach and make Hopkins work at a higher pace than the aging Philadelphian can sustain but at the same time, the Montreal man cannot go too slow.

The champion must also be ready to counter the body attack of Hopkins, which was used to perfection by the old master in the first bout.

Hopkins, 51-5-2 (32), has vowed that he will produce a high energy offensive performance from the first bell this time but it is unlikely that he could keep up such a performance more than a few rounds at his age.

In order for Hopkins to top George Foreman's result of 17 years ago and become the oldest fighter to win a major world championship, he'll have to do everything he can to keep the pace down to the more moderate pace he's long favored and given the results of the first contest, produce a knock out.

But those things will be difficult to produce as Pascal's chin has weathered the best that Hopkins, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson can produce and this time the champion will be unlikely to expend all his energy within a few rounds.

This could be the fight in which Hopkins finally hits the wall and age catches up with him but it could also be his biggest triumph after a long and glorious career.

Only time will tell.

The undercard sees a clash at light heavyweight between Chad Dawson, 29-1 (17), and Adrian Diaconu, 27-2 (15), scheduled for 12 rounds.

Both men are coming back from losses to Pascal but former WBC, IBF and IBO champ Dawson is the more experienced, skilled fighter and the southpaw should defeat ex-WBC Interim strap holder Diaconu.

About Richard Eberline

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