Jean Pascal to defend title in Montreal
Bernard Hopkins is going back to Canada for his rematch with light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Hopkins' promoter, told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that the May 21 HBO fight will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The fight had been agreed to last month.
"Book your flight," Schaefer said. "We have agreed on terms, although I have not yet signed the contract. But Montreal is going to be the site. We are in the process of putting together the press tour."
Schaefer said the fighters would meet the media March 28 in Montreal and be in New York on March 29.
"We are excited to go to Montreal," Schaefer said. "It's a great city with a great fan base there, so it's going to be another huge event."
The first fight, on Dec. 18, drew a packed house of 16,500 to the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, which Schaefer said had also been a strong candidate to host the rematch.
Schaefer, who controlled where the fight would take place because Golden Boy won the purse bid for the fight, worked closely with Yvon Michel, Pascal's promoter, on the site. Because of Pascal's popularity in Quebec -- he is from Laval -- it was clear that having the fight there would generate the most money.
In the first fight, Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) retained the title against Hopkins in a heavily disputed majority draw. One judge had it for Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs), and two others scored the bout even. Pascal scored two early knockdowns, one of which appeared to be the result of an illegal punch behind the head, but Hopkins appeared to dominate most of the rest of the fight.
Hopkins, who turned 46 in January, will once again bid to become the oldest world champion in boxing history, a record held by former heavyweight champion George Foreman, who was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer to regain the title in 1994.
In the chief undercard bout, which will open HBO's broadcast, former light heavyweight titleholders Chad Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs) and Montreal's Adrian Diaconu (27-2, 15 KOs) will meet. If Dawson wins, the winner of the main event is contractually obligated to fight him next. Dawson lost an 11th-round technical decision to Pascal in an August title match but had a rematch clause.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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