Who: Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) vs. Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs)
What: 12-round WBC light-heavyweight championship bout
When: Tomorrow, 10 o'clock
Where: Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City
To a man, members of Bernard Hopkins' support crew are saying the 45-year-old marvel has had one of the best, most-focused training camps of his illustrious career.
"He is in even better condition than usual, and that's saying something," said Hopkins' trainer, Brother Naazim Richardson.
"Bernard is as good as I've ever seen him, and I've been with him 8 years," said Danny Davis, Hopkins' pad man.
Of course, the guy who designed the Titanic assured everyone the ship was unsinkable. We all know how accurate that prediction was.
Still, unless the eyes deceive, the Hopkins who, again, is seeking to prove to the world that age really is a state of mind, appears to be up to the mark. He consistently outworked the five sparring partners, all in their early 20s, brought in by Richardson to press him, as Pascal, the WBC and Ring light-heavyweight champion, is apt to do tomorrow night in the Pepsi Coliseum.
"I told [the sparring partners], 'You can't run away from Bernard because he knows how to cut off the ring,' " Richardson said. "You can't hit him solid because he knows how to roll with the punches. What you can do is fight like a 20-something. Go at him hard and make him work for every minute of every round."
At the end of a couple of rounds, every one of the sparring partners would be spent. Hopkins would then look over at Richardson and say, "Give me another one."
If B-Hop continues to spit in the eye of Father Time, he's going to get old, in a professional sense, one of these days. But I don't think it will be tomorrow night. I think he schools the kid and ends a 6-year, nine-bout knockout drought by stopping the 28-year-old champion in 10 rounds.