Zaprudering The Bernard Hopkins – Jean Pascal Scuffle Video And Its Aftermath

By now this video of a press conference scuffle this week between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal ought to have been seen by plenty, and for a fight of this size, it got some rare attention out there in the mainstream. One of the things that makes it neat how differently everyone has looked at it and its fallout. Pascal is under Hopkins’ skin! Hopkins is under Pascal’s skin! Hopkins is a hypocrite! Pascal is!

I am not a trained body language expert, not that any of the trained body language experts actually know what they’re talking about, either. What follows is nonetheless my highly convincing imaginary explanation of what the deal is.

Pascal, the light heavyweight champion of the world, ginned this “take the test” stuff up to tick off Hopkins, in anticipation of Hopkins ginning up something like he always does before a fight to tick off HIS opponent. Pascal said he’s upset that Hopkins belittled the people of Quebec City, but I think he was trying to preempt and provoke Hopkins to get a mental edge, perhaps sensing that he needs one after the way the first fight between Pascal and Hopkins ended on a note that most assuredly went Hopkins’ way, draw or no.

And I think it kind of worked. Pascal’s hysterics about steroids can’t have been terribly sincere, or else he’d have made sure tests were required in the contract. Hopkins is a man who has taken an intense pride in his conditioning and even his waist size. How better to irritate him than imply his physical achievements as a 46-year-old man are artificial? For those who believe Pascal’s hysterics are a sign of him being nervous, you are, in my imaginationland, totally wrong. Hopkins, the master of press conference mind games, got pwned.

Hopkins, for his part, said he snapped and shoved Pascal because Pascal put his arm around him. This was a breach of decorum that crossed a line for a man who once threw the Puerto Rican flag on the ground and said he would never lose a fight with a white dude. So Hopkins responded to Pascal’s breach of decorum by threatening to kill him, which is not an uncool thing to do in B-Hopland. It was a much more explicit death threat than we’re used to getting from B-Hop, but no more realistic than those he issued in the past. Hopkins hasn’t scored a knockout since 2004. An in-ring murder seems a bit beyond him. I probably inadvertently killed an ant walking to work today, but you don’t hear me getting all Galactus Eater of Worlds with my threats against mankind. Anyway, this death threat thing was a way for Hopkins to try to re-seize the mental edge.

Double anyway, that’s exactly what happened. I would suggest you leave your own imaginary explanation of what happened in the comments section below but I’m into solipsism so I really can’t trust what “you” might be “saying.” But go ahead, if you wanna.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.