Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Was that really necessary?
As pre-fight hype goes, it doesn't get any more ill-conceived or poorly-executed than yesterday's Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins news conference circus act promoting their May 21st WBC light heavyweight championship rematch at the Bell Center. The two fighters got into a shoving match and Hopkins even threw a punch after Pascal challenged his opponent to take a blood test to prove that he's not on performance-enhancing drugs.
Let's give the promotors the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn't put Pascal up to it, because they've already got an event that's able to sell itself on its own merits, with Pascal and Hopkins ready to pick up where they left off in a dramatic and controversial fight last December in Quebec City, where Pascal retained the title by a disputed majority draw. In challenging Hopkins to get tested for drugs, Pascal offered nothing in the way of proof that the 46 year old fighter's ripped physique is the result of anything other than long hours of hard work in the gym, and even passed the buck to the faceless multitudes, saying it's the fans who want Hopkins to take the test. Pascal claims he's defending the integrity of his home province after Hopkins called Quebec City a "village" and its residents "little people," but linking name calling to drug testing is a tenuous leap of logic.
Not only was it cheap theatrics unbecoming of a champion, but in the absence of evidence or even any hint of a drug scandal in the Hopkins camp, Pascal came away from yesterday's spectacle looking exactly like what Hopkins described him as - a scared punk preparing his excuses for losing in advance.