Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal will rematch Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET. Their first fight was a hard fought battle that ended in a controversial draw. Pascal will look to overwhelm Bernard early, much like their first fight where Hopkins was dropped twice in the early rounds while Hopkins will look to make it a dirty, psychological fight that wears Pascal out.
But win, lose or draw there is good news for Hopkins. He has three fights left on his HBO deal. At 46 years old, it looks like we'll be seeing Hopkins fighting on HBO two more times. Likely once more in 2011 and probably an early to mid-2012 fight. HBO has to be hoping that Bernard can pull off the win as having an aging fighter who can't draw huge ratings locking up two spots is bad enough. Having that same guy without a title belt and on a losing streak is much worse.
The assumption is that the winner of the Hopkins/Pascal rematch will fight Chad Dawson, assuming Dawson wins in the main undercard bout of Saturday night's card. Hopkins vs. Dawson isn't a terrible fight for HBO on paper, but with a loss it's hard to even imagine what they could do with Bernard that is worth his price and doesn't provide disastrous ratings.
They may not be willing to say it, but those at HBO are going to be firmly in the corner of "The Executioner."