by Nat Gottlieb
The common thread running through the three biggest fights of Jean Pascal's 28-bout career is his inability to finish what he started. Like a thoroughbred sprinter asked to stretch out in a distance race, Pascal has consistently had trouble reaching the finish line with any kick left. It cost him his only loss against Carl Froch in 2008. Two years later he barely escaped getting knocked out by Chad Dawson in the 11th round of a fight he won on points by technical decision. Against Hopkins, only a draw saved him from absorbing his second defeat.
Now Pascal has a chance for a do-over. If he is to win this time, he'll have to find solutions to the many problems Hopkins still poses at 46, plus overcome his own stylistic failings. "Pascal has an impressive body, but in a physical fight he starts to feel fatigue around the seventh, eighth or ninth rounds," says Daniel Cloutier, longtime Montreal boxing writer. "Pascal is always at his best through the sixth and seventh rounds. Why, I don't know. He trains very hard."