It's not just that he won a championship, it's how he won it. For the past several years Hopkins has been the fistic equivalent of your aunt Myrtle: a persnickety spoilsport who shushes everyone and reminds them of how it should be done, while serving up lukewarm peppermint tea. Sure, it was fun and gratifying to point to Hopkins as the last of the old masters and to revel in his feinting, shoulder-rolling repertoire. But he didn't exactly produce fireworks. Against Pascal, though, he simply let it roll, as if he were saying, "Here's how an all-timer fights, bro. Try to keep up if you can." Hopkins does a monthly how-to feature in
How long he can keep it up remains to be seen, but that doesn't matter. What Hopkins produced on May 21 in Montreal was (cliché alert) one for the ages.
Hopkins' supreme conditioning and monastic lifestyle has always been the foundation of his success -- "I have invested in my body like you invest money in a bank," he says -- but the Pascal victory suggests there's something greater at play here than mere nutrition and clean living. Indubitably, we're in the presence of an all-time legend.
Give me Tavoris Cloud next. Cloud has a title (the IBF version) and a heavy-handed style that I think could make for an entertaining matchup. It would be another chance for Hopkins to outclass a young, undefeated lion in the division -- and a chance for Cloud to retire a legend.