The younger man sat on the stool, milking every possible second of rest between rounds. Seeing it, the older man leaped to his feet, walked a few feet from his corner, and began doing push-ups.
The crowd roared in appreciation, as it did throughout the night, from the moment Bernard Hopkins entered the ring to a tape of him singing his own version of “My Way” – accompanied by a trio of picture-perfect backing singers – to the reading of the scores and the official acknowledgment that he had achieved boxing history, becoming the oldest fighter to win a title.
Jean Pascal was the Montreal fighter, and the Montreal crowd yearned for him to win. It roared its deafening approval whenever the defending 28-year-old light heavyweight champion threw a flurry of punches or landed a hard right to Hopkins’ jaw. But it cheered and applauded in acknowledgment, and with ever greater enthusiasm as the night progressed, when Hopkins asserted control, made Pascal miss, or stunned the hometown favorite – as on several occasions he did – by feinting with the left and then landing a hard right hand over the top.
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