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Jean Pascal is rooting for Sergey Kovalev against Bernard Hopkins

Fighters Network
Sergey Kovalev’s best chance against Bernard Hopkins is to catch him early, according to Jean Pascal, “but if it goes past the fifth round, then Hopkins is going to win a decision.”
Hopkins will put his IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles up against that of WBO counterpart Kovalev on Nov. 8 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. Hopkins, 49, already is the oldest man to both win a major title – he’s done that twice – as well as the oldest to unify.
A former RING 175-pound champion who has battled to a draw and lost by unanimous decision against Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 knockouts), Pascal said he is pulling for Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) but won’t be surprised if Hopkins is victorious.
“With Hopkins-Kovalev, most people think that Bernard is going to win,” said Pascal, 32, “but I think that if Hopkins gets caught early, then he’s going to be in trouble. But if it goes past the fifth round, then Hopkins is going to win by decision.”
Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) unanimously decisioned Adrian Diaconu for the WBC’s belt in June 2009 and defended it three times, culminating with an 11th-round technical decision over Chad Dawson in August 2010.

Pascal’s next two fights were against Hopkins, the latter, in May 2011, when a 46-year-old Hopkins won THE RING and WBC championships by unanimous decision.

Although Hopkins lost the championships by majority decision to Dawson in April 2012, he eclipsed his own record in March 2013, when the then-48-year-old dethroned Tavoris Cloud as IBF titleholder by unanimous decision.

In his last bout in April, Hopkins scored a unanimous decision win that took the WBA belt from Beibut Shumenov.

In his last fight in August, Kovalev, 31, rose from a first-round knockdown against Blake Caparello, whom he floored three times in the second and final round of a technical knockout win.

The win represented Kovalev’s 13th knockout in 14 fights, including a fourth-round stoppage that dethroned previously unbeaten WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in August 2013.

“Honestly, it’s really a hard pick for me because Kovalev is a good boxer and I want him to win. That’s because, if he wins, then I think that I have a better chance of getting a shot at him. But if Hopkins wins, then it’s going to be harder to get a shot at him because Hopkins knows that he got lucky,” said Pascal.

“Both times he got lucky. He got a draw and then a close decision against me, so I don’t think that he wants no part of me any more. So he’s probably going to try to run from me if he wins. So, business-wise, I’m going to root for Kovalev but I’m not going to be surprised if Hopkins wins the fight.”

Pascal’s future, meanwhile, could include a fight against RING champion Adonis Stevenson at the Bell Centre in Montreal, which has been placed on hold for a potential April 4 showdown between them, according to Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel.

First, however, Pascal is scheduled to face Donovan George on Dec. 6 on the undercard of a main event featuring former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute against Roberto Bolonti. After that, Stevenson, 37, is slated for a Dec. 19 date with Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky in Quebec City.

Pascal won his last fight in January by unanimous decision over Bute, representing his third straight win since losing to Hopkins. During that time, Pascal has also scored a unanimous decision over Aleksy Kuziemski and a fifth-round knockout of George Blades.

“I’m still the best and I mean that with no disrespect to all of the fighters in the light heavyweight division,” said Pascal. “I really think that I am the best fighter in the division and I just want to show the world that I am the best fighter in the division.”

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