The contrasts between amateur standout Pascal and jailhouse alum Hopkins are many. The Haitian-born Pascal is still relatively unknown in the U.S. despite widespread renown in Canada, where he's a citizen. Hopkins, who held the middleweight title from 1995 until 2005, is a much more familiar name to casual fans -- a surefire Hall of Famer who is considered one of sports' all-time great methuselahs.
For his first title defense, Pascal had handpicked Hopkins as an opportunity to build his legacy. But the plan very nearly backfired on fight night, when Hopkins recovered from first- and third-round knockdowns to dominate the action down the stretch. Judge Steve Morrow gave a narrow edge to Hopkins, but the outcome was ruled a draw when the other two arbiters turned in scorecards of 113-113 and 114-114. The build-up to the rematch has proven much more acrimonious, with Pascal making pointed (and completely baseless) suggestions that Hopkins uses performance-enhancing drugs, to the horror of the clean-living challenger. The rancor was captured on film when the fighters visited HBO's Face Off with Max Kellerman:
"I said a lot of things about my opponents to get in their head, but I never said an opponent cheated," said Hopkins last week. "I've always been a guy that speaks about health awareness and speaks about how if you take care of your body yesterday, you'll have something tomorrow. You take care of your money now, you'll have something in the future. It's the same concept. If you're a guy that likes to spend, eventually you're going to be broke."