Golden Boy Protests Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins Draw
Golden Boy Promotions' CEO Richard Schaefer has informed FanHouse that WBC President Jose Sulaiman will order an immediate rematch in response to Schaefer's pending protest of Saturday night's Showtime televised majority draw between WBC light heavyweight (175 pounds) king Jean Pascal (pictured above, at left) of Canada, and, Bernard Hopkins (pictured above, at right), of Philadelphia.
"I talked to Jose Sulaiman, and I talked to our attorney, Steven Espinoza, and we are filing a protest with the WBC. And Jose Sulaiman has told me that he will order an immediate rematch and that Pascal will have to fight Bernard Hopkins next," said Schaefer, during a call to FanHouse on Saturday night from Quebec, adding that he would request that the return bout take place somewhere other than in Canada.
"I'll tell you that we're not going to come back to Canada with Canadian judges and a Canadian referee because it's a no-win situation. We might as well not come here. It's unfortunate that it is like that, but it is like that," said Schaefer, who was not pleased with Michael Griffin's officiating. "As we were walking out and making our way up to the post-fight press conference, even the Canadian fans were telling Bernard Hopkins that he had won the fight."
Contested before Pascal's partisan fans at Pepsi Colesium in Quebec City, Quebec, Pascal-Hopkins ended in controversy, even as the 45-year-old Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 knockouts) appeared to have successfully negated knockdowns in the first and third rounds by thoroughly out-boxing the 28-year-old Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs).
American judge Steve Morrow had it for Hopkins, 114-112, but Canadian official Jean Claude Paquette and Belgian official Daniel Van de Wiele scored it even, respectively, at 113-113, and, 114-114.
FanHouse had it for Hopkins, 115-111.
Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins Round-by-Round
"That Belgian judge, you know, he's got a lot of explaining to do because that is the judge who scored the 10th round 10-to-10, even, while all of the other judges had it a 10-to-9 in favor of Bernard," said Schaefer. "So, you know, I think that there is a lot of explaining to do there from judge Van de Wiele."
Pascal was coming off of August's HBO-televised, 11th-round technical unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten southpaw WBC interim titlist Chad Dawson of New Haven, Conn., that was staged at Bell Centre, in Montreal, Canada.
The win over Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs) was the fifth straight for Pascal since losing a unanimous decision to England's Carl Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) in December 2008 for the WBC's vacant super middleweight (168 pounds) crown.
Hopkins, who turns 46 on January 15, was looking to dethrone Pascal and become the oldest fighter in the history of the sport to win a significant world title -- 38 days older than when 45-year-old George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in the 10th round on November 5, 1994, to become the eldest man to win a heavyweight crown.
Against Pascal, Hopkins was down for only the third and fourth times in his career, respectively, with seven seconds left in the first round, and, 30 seconds remaining in the third.
Hopkins was attacking with Pascal's back against the ropes when the first knockdown occurred.
When Pascal side-stepped to his right, Hopkins surged forward. Pascal then fired a right hand that caught Hopkins behind the head, sending the off-balance fighter into the lowest rope.
The second knockdown, also along the ropes, was the result of Pascal's legitimate, counter-left hook on the button. But like the first time, Hopkins was unhurt and rose immediately before Griffin had begun his count.
Ironically, the only other two times Hopkins had been floored were in the fifth and seventh rounds of a December, 1994 draw against Segundo Mercado.
The draw against Mercado negated Hopkins' bid to earn the vacant IBF middleweight crown on Mercado's home turf of Quito, Ecuador.
In their return bout four months later, on April 29, 1995, in Landover, MD., however, Hopkins scored a seventh-round knockout of Mercado to earn the IBF middleweight crown.
From there, Hopkins made a middleweight record 20 title defenses before losing his undisputed champion status to Jermain Taylor by a split decision in July of 2005.
After the draw against Mercado, Hopkins vowed never to fight outside of America again.
"One of the reasons most fighters from the United States don't like fighting outside of the country is because of this," Hopkins said after the draw against Pascal. "It's because of this. I mean, I put on a gallant performance."
Pascal, who never has been knocked down, found himself on his behind in the 11th round from what appeared to have been a short, Hopkins right hand to Pascal's left chest area as the fighters emerged from a clinch.
Griffin ruled that sequence a slip.
"I have to see the replay, but what about, you know, when Bernard Hopkins dropped Pascal?" asked Schaefer. "He [Griffin] ultimately ruled that that was a slip."
Does Schaefer believe that Hopkins should have been credited with a knockdown?
"That's what I feel," said Schaefer. "These situations, in my opinion, they're a bit questionable. I just think that it's unfortunate that it turned out like that."
Earlier, Griffin also deduced that Hopkins had slipped with 24 seconds in the fourth round, when Pascal cuffed Hopkins with a similar, behind-the-head shot as the Canadian had landed in the first round. Pascal, of course, was credited with that knockdown.
Schaefer sees Pascal-Hopkins as yet another controversial ending in a high-profile title bout that was fought on Canadian soil.
In October of 2008, it appeared that Romanian-born, left-hander, Lucian Bute (27-0, 22 KOs), who was ringside for Pascal-Hopkins, had retained his IBF super middleweight title crown against Mexcan-born, Librado Andrade, due as much to the indiscretion of referee Marlon Wright as to his own admirable bravery in surviving a near-final round knockout before a partisan crowd of more than 70,000 at Bell Centre.
Although Bute easily won the decision, 117-109, 115-111, and, 115-110, he had teetered around the ring, with Andrade landing punches intermittently. Andrade dropped Bute with about 15 seconds left, and it appeared that Bute would not beat the count.
But Wright aborted his 10-count at six, turned, and signal for Andrade to return to his corner, seemingly allowing Bute time to rise as time elapsed.
During his in-the-ring, on-camera, post-fight interview with Showtime's Steve Farhood, Wright indicated that it was Andrade's fault for leaving the corner that he lost the fight, attributing the time lost on the count to the time it took Andrade to return the the neutral corner.
"We had a similar situation when Lucian Bute fought against Librado Andrade," said Schaefer. "The referee was counting, six, seven, you know, I don't know how many times over. I mean, he was stuck on six until the round was over, and Bute was saved by the bell."
Bute won his November, 2009 rematch by fourth-round knockout against Andrade at Pepsi Coliseum, but Schaefer believes that there is a stigma that stains Canadian boxing.
"You know, it is unfortunate that this happens in Canada, because Canada has such great fans. There were great people and a great atmosphere in that venue, the Pepsi Colesium. I just think that their judges and their referees, they've got a lot to learn," said Schaefer.
"Quebec is one of the most beautiful cities that I've ever been to. I mean, the people are amazing, they're friendly, they're nice fans. They're absolutely first-class, and it was one of the best atmospheres for boxing," said Schaefer. "But it's unfortunate that it's impossible to win a decision in Canada, and, tonight, we saw that again. It's not good. It's not good for boxing in Canada. It's not good for Canadian boxing to attract big-time fights. It's really bad."
There was yet another controversial verdict in November of 2009 in Quebec, City, when a lightweight (135 pounds) clash between South Africa's Ali Funeka and Dominican-born rival, Joan Guzman, for the vacant IBF title, ended with the 6-foot-1, Funeka appearing to have dominated the 5-7 Guzman from a distance behind his long, piston-like jab.
Funeka left Guzman's white trunks stained with the blood that flowed profusely from his own broken nose as well as from a cut above his right eye. But that verdict wound up being a controversial, 12-round, majority draw that left the IBF crown vacant, Canadian ringsiders stunned, and HBO's commentators in disbelief.
American judge Joe Pasquale scored it 116-112 for Funeka, however, both Canadian judges Alan Davis and Benoit Roussel had it even at 114-114.
FanHouse had it for Funeka, 116-112.
"It's not fair for world championship boxing at that level," said Schaefer. "To have that sort of situation [with Pascal-Hopkins] where there are very inexperienced judges and referees, you know, that just shouldn't be the case."
Funeka's promoter, Gary Shaw, successfully lobbied for a rematch, which was won by Guzman by decision in March in Las Vegas. In the rematch, the vacant IBF crown was on the line again, but only for Funeka -- this after Guzman weighed in nine pounds over the contracted 135-pound limit at 144. The fight was, for that reason, contested as an over-the-limit bout.