Friday, May 20, 2011

Hopkins-Pascal II--Five Scenarios

The Hopkins-Pascal rematch allows a whole host of possible outcomes.  What follows here are the most likely results.  I would like to highlight that these are relatively low percentages for the top scenarios.  In the Pacquiao-Mosley – Five Scenarios, I had Pacquiao with a 55% chance of winning by a wide decision in Scenario 1.  With Hopkins-Pascal II, Scenario I only has a 35% likelihood and the "other" category, or Scenario 5, has a 20% probability – a pretty substantial percentage. 

In analyzing the results of their first fight as well as considering other factors such as Hopkins' age, the Montreal location and Pascal's new-found experience on the big stage, the rematch could unfold in several ways.  Like the movie, "Clue," here is a mystery with all sorts of potential endings. 

Scenario 1.  Pascal defeats Hopkins by a close decision.  35%.

Pascal has the most room for improvement from the first fight.  After knocking Hopkins down twice in the first three rounds, Pascal was tentative through the fight's second half, throwing fewer punches than his normal output and refusing to take risks in the ring. 

Rest assured, Pascal has watched the tape of the first fight and there are obvious things that he can do to win more rounds.  Pascal needs to be more active and increase his work rate.  He also must fight more consistency throughout each round.  He has to stop taking 20-30 seconds off after each flurry, which in the first fight provided too many openings for Hopkins.  With his speed, unconventional ambush-style attack and youth, Pascal possesses the ingredients to win a majority of rounds in the fight. 

It's also encouraging that Pascal dropped Hopkins twice in their first fight.  The straight right hand that finishes off his flurries could be there in this fight like it was in their first encounter.  This scenario and Scenario 2 include split decisions in each respective boxer's favor. 

Scenario 2.  Hopkins defeats Pascal by close decision.  20%

Let's be honest.  In almost all of Hopkins' fights in the last decade, he has been a slow starter.  (The exceptions are the Tarver, Pavlik and Calzaghe fights.)  Pascal will come out with a lot to prove and a tremendous amount of energy.  In this scenario, the rematch plays out similarly to the first fight, with Hopkins coming on in the second half of the match as Pascal tires.  Hopkins is fully trained to fight 12 grueling rounds.  It's not clear that Pascal is.  Hopkins' supreme conditioning and Pascal's propensity to fade could lead to this result.  

Scenario 3.  Hopkins defeats Pascal by wide decision.  15%

This scenario is the Hopkins/Naazim Richardson special, whereby they continue the blueprint from the second half of the first fight into the rematch.  It's quite possible that Richardson and Hopkins made some key corrections that forced Pascal to become tentative.  After reviewing the tape, I'm sure that these two masters of their craft found some additional aspects of the first fight to exploit. 

Pascal did not react well to Hopkins' body punching and countering.  Also, Pascal does not transition from defense to offense very fluidly.  If Hopkins continues to fight in a high-energy style, throwing lots of punches, he can neutralize Pascal's ability to engage in his offensive attacks.  

Scenario 4.  Hopkins and Pascal draw.  10%.

Given the location of the fight, the front running nature of Pascal and Hopkins' ability to control the late rounds of the action, a draw is certainly a possible outcome, as evidenced by result of the first fight.  Even though Hopkins-Pascal I led to fairly obvious scoring, give or take a round, because of the style differences of the fighters, the judges' scoring could vary significantly in the rematch.  Pascal's flurries are easy to see while Hopkins' counterpunching, defense and ring generalship aren't always rewarded.  It would not surprise me in the least to see some disparate scorecards.

Scenario 5.  Other.  20%.

This scenario still covers quite a bit of the pie.  Here are some other potential outcomes:  1. Pascal wins a wide decision.  Hopkins suddenly gets old and Pascal coasts to a comfortable victory.  2.  A no-contest.  The fight ends early because of head butts.  Pascal was cut in the Chad Dawson fight and Hopkins is known to use any and all tactics to gain an edge.  3. Technical Decision.  It's also possible that the fight is stopped early because of butts after the fourth round.  Either fighter could win with this outcome.  4.  Hopkins is DQ'ed.  You have to remember that Hopkins has a street fighter’s mentality.  If he's losing badly, he won't just let Pascal get the satisfaction of beating a legend; Hopkins will inflict pain.  5.  Hopkins wins by TKO.  This will be from an accumulation of punishment whereby Hopkins dishes out a serious beating to Pascal and either Pascal's trainer or the referee stops it.  6.  Pascal knocks Hopkins out.  I don't think this is too likely.  You'd probably see Hopkins die in the ring before he lets someone knock him out.  However, Pascal did drop Hopkins twice and maybe he lands a punch where Hopkins can't beat the count.  


Again, although Pascal winning by close decision is the most likely outcome, Hopkins may have more different ways to win the fight.  

Pascal defeats Hopkins 114-113, with a knockdown or point deduction being the difference in the fight.

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