With the ageless Bernard Hopkins attempting to become the oldest boxer ever to win a legitimate world title - the native Philadelphian will challenge light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal - the possibility doesn't seem to be such a big thing to sports fans in the fighter's hometown and beyond.

But The Ring magazine editor-in-chief Nigel Collins, a noted boxing historian, said the achievement should not be taken lightly if the 46-year-old Hopkins accomplishes his goal against the 28-year-old Pascal, who holds the WBO and IBO titles.

The fight will be shown live on HBO. Hopkins is 51-5-2 with 32 KO's and Pascal will bring a record of 26-1-1 with 16 KO's into the ring.

In the city that's hosting the fight, it is much anticipated.

"If he wins, it's a historical event," said Collins, whose publication has Pascal as the linear light heavyweight champion. "The Bell Centre is sold out - 18,000 seats. Bernard is considerably older than Pascal, who is a good, young fighter. That makes it even tougher."

The standard that Hopkins is out to top was established by George Foreman in 1994, when at age 45 he knocked out 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round in Las Vegas to take the IBF and WBA belts. Hopkins has Foreman's support as he takes on Pascal.

"It is very important to me to win the fight, first, and then let everything else fall in," Hopkins said during a teleconference earlier this week. "That's the first and most important thing that's on my mind, winning the fight - and not the record, because you can't get the record if you can't win the fight.

"For me, personally, it's a great achievement to be still doing what I do at a high level. Now that I'm here, it's more appreciated. This is a game where if you get 10 years out of this sport, you're considered lucky. So, to get two decades and come upon history four or five times in my career - as Jim Lampley said, 'It happened. It happened on HBO.' "

Foreman, who was behind on all the scorecards before ending the Moorer fight with one crushing right hand, has implored Hopkins to go for a knockout victory over Pascal and not leave the outcome in the hands of the judges.

Hopkins did not necessarily need that advice.

He and Pascal fought to a majority draw back in December when the native Canadian invited Hopkins to come fight in Quebec. The decision was an unpopular one, as many observers thought Hopkins had done enough to win and that Pascal got the benefit of a hometown decision.

Hopkins lobbied for a rematch and it was granted by the sanctioning bodies. Before agreeing to fight in Canada again, Hopkins said the closest he'd ever come to the country again was Niagara Falls.

"I'd love to go in there and get a knockout," said Hopkins, who hasn't stopped an opponent since flooring Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, which was 11 fights ago. "That would stop my drought. My thing is to execute. If I win every round, you win the fight. You just make it seem one-sided. I'm looking to put that type of performance on. The only way to do that is to put the pressure on Pascal. So I'm ready.

"I can't worry about what they did [in the] last fight. I get the chance to not redeem myself, but I get a chance to make their wrong my right."

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at (215) 854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.