QUEBEC CITY -- WBC and IBO world light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal says he's ready for the fight of his life Saturday against wily American veteran Bernard (The Executioner) Hopkins.
Pascal, 28, said that what he gives up to the 45-year-old Hopkins in experience, he makes up for in speed and guile.
"I don't have Hopkins' history, but I have speed, ambition and youth," Pascal (26-1-0, 16 KO) said at an open training session.
The Montrealer said he was not fazed by the legendary reputation of his opponent, who fought his first pro match when Pascal was just six years old.
"I think I'm better than Hopkins and I'll prove it," Pascal said as hundreds of onlookers watched him work the heavy bag and spar this week.
Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) might be much older than his Canadian opponent but he's still one of the best boxers of his era and Pascal isn't taking him lightly. "Anything can happen in the ring," Pascal said.
"Boxing is like war, you don't know if you'll return home."
The fight is the biggest on Canadian soil in 30 years, and promoters are expecting a sellout at the 16,500-seat Pepsi Colisee. The Showtime network will broadcast the fight, and already there is talk of a second title defence for Pascal at the same venue in April.
But first he has to get past Hopkins, who has made a career of silencing naysayers. The Philadelphia native once defended his middleweight belt 20 consecutive times and has defied age by winning his last three fights. Hopkins is looking to become the oldest world champion in boxing history.
International media have taken notice. The fight will be broadcast in 25 countries and a win could vault Pascal to global prominence. He's coming off an upset win in August against former champ Chad Dawson and is looking to solidify his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.