By Dan Rafael
Bernard Hopkins has made a career of proving naysayers wrong.
“The Executioner” did it when he knocked out Felix Trinidad to become the undisputed middleweight champion in 2001 in a major upset. He did it again when he dominated heavily favored Antonio Tarver to win the light heavyweight title in 2006. And he did it yet again when he thrashed then-middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, the big favorite, in a 2008 nontitle bout.
Now, Hopkins is hoping to do it one more time when he meets newly crowned light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.
They are slated to meet Dec. 18 in Quebec City after agreeing to terms, both sides told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
“We agreed on everything,” Hopkins said. “There is no issue. There is no problem with my side or Pascal’s side. The contracts have been drafted. It’s a done deal. All I gotta do is sign.”
Hopkins said he is reviewing the contract, but “I’ll probably sign it before Friday because the [Labor Day] holiday is coming up and I’m going away for a few days.”
Said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Hopkins’ promoter, “The fact is that both sides have agreed to the terms. Now we have to get it signed, but I don’t anticipate any problems.
“Both fighters really wanted the fight. If you have two fighters who really want to fight each other then I think the promoters just have to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. I am excited to work with [Pascal promoter] Yvon Michel. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Don Majeski, an agent for Michel, also said the fight had been agreed to.
“It’s a big fight for Pascal and a big fight in Quebec,” Majeski said. “Hopkins is one of the biggest stars in boxing and those are the kind of fights Pascal wants.”
Schaefer said he and Michel were still working out television plans.
“It could be live on Showtime. We’re having discussions,” Schaefer said. “Or it could be pay-per-view.”
Schaefer said he hoped to make a deal with Showtime. He called it the “perfect platform” for the fight because the winner, particularly if it’s Pascal, would be a logical opponent to face the winner of the network’s Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament, which is taking place in the weight class just below light heavyweight. Although HBO televised Pascal-Dawson, it is not interested in Pascal-Hopkins, Schaefer said.
Pascal, 27, who was born in Haiti but lives in the province of Quebec, scored a major upset when he clearly won an 11-round technical decision against Chad Dawson on Aug. 14 in Montreal to retain his alphabet title and win the vacant Ring magazine title, which recognizes the lineal champion of a division.
“I was impressed by one thing in Dawson that’s very important,” Hopkins said. “I was impressed that he came in to win no matter what and he delivered. You are judged by delivery and Pascal delivered. He bewildered, befuddled and he took Chad Dawson’s confidence.”
Although Pascal owes Dawson a contractual rematch, he is permitted to take an interim fight and has said repeatedly he wanted to fight Hopkins.
“It’s a crossroads fight. It doesn’t get more crossroads than this one,” Schaefer said. “You have the young guy coming off the biggest win of his career and he’s at an all-time high. Can he beat another star like he did with Dawson? Then you have Hopkins, the experienced veteran wanting to again turn back the clock. Can he do it again and beat an emerging star like he’s done before? It’s a fascinating fight.”
Hopkins, who made a record 20 middleweight title defenses, won the lineal light heavyweight title against Tarver and lost it on a split decision to Joe Calzaghe in 2008. Regaining it is important to Hopkins.
“I need it around my waist,” Hopkins said. “This fight will prove to the world that I am not done.
“I hold no malice or bad feelings to those who are concerned about me, but I’ve always been a son of a bitch when it comes to rising up to the occasion. This for me is the type of fight where I have to top what I’ve done before. I want to keep giving them something where they can’t understand how I’m doing it.”
Many called for Hopkins’ retirement after his sloppy and lackluster decision victory against faded Roy Jones Jr. in April in a rematch that came 17 years after Jones had won their first encounter.
But Hopkins, who will turn 46 less than a month after he faces Pascal, likes the idea of becoming one of the few fighters in boxing history to win a major title fight in his 40s.
“I was going through my memory and I had a conversation with [trainer] Naazim [Richardson] and we got stuck on just [two] guys,” Hopkins said of heavyweight George Foreman and light heavyweight Archie Moore.
Hopkins is already 6-3 in his 40s, but wants to add another win to that record.
“It’s a very short list of the guys who’ve done that, so that’s one of my motivations,” Hopkins said. “To make that happen and to add it on top of all the other unusual things I have done in my career, it’s very motivating to me.”
Hopkins said going to Canada to fight is not an issue for him.
“I have no problem going to Canada,” he said. “I suggested we go to Canada based on the fans that Pascal has up there. And the Canadians have been making a lot of noise lately with [super middleweight titlist Lucian] Bute and Pascal.”
Hopkins, of Philadelphia, has not fought outside the United States since 1994, when he received a draw against hometown fighter Segundo Mercado in a vacant middleweight title bout in Quito, Ecuador.
“I’d rather be fighting in Canada than Ecuador,” Hopkins said.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com; follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
Error: There is no connected account for the user 299663506 Feed will not update.