Boxers Bernard Hopkins (R) of the US and Haitian-born Jean Pascal face off at a news conference in New York in March 2011.

*Bernard Hopkins will try to become the oldest major world champion in boxing history on Saturday when he faces Canada’s Jean Pascal in Montreal for the World Boxing Council light heavyweight crown.

Hopkins will be 126 days beyond his 46th birthday when he steps into the ring for a rematch of a controversial majority draw last December that allowed Pascal to keep his title. That makes Hopkins 24 days older than US heavyweight legend George Foreman was when Foreman defended the International Boxing Federation crown against Germany’s Axel Schulz in 1995 with a split-decision victory.

Foreman became the oldest fighter to take a world title when he knocked out fellow American Michael Moorer 2:03 into the 10th round to claim the IBF and World Boxing Association heavyweight crowns on November 5, 1994.

“It means more to me to break the age record and prove that I am representing not just the older fighters, but older athletes in any sport,” Hopkins said, according to AFP.

“I am going to go out there on Saturday night and fight for all of the old guys out there. I’m living proof that life isn’t over at 40. I’m leading by example to show that you can continue to do what you love well into your 40s.

“My motivation is to get in that ring and prove to the young lion that the old lion still rules the jungle.”

Hopkins, 51-5 with two drawn and 32 knockouts, reigned as world middleweight champion for 10 years before surrendering the undisputed crown to Jermain Taylor in 2005 at age 40.

Since then, Hopkins dispatched big-name US rivals Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Roy Jones and previously undefeated Kelly Pavlik while suffering his most recent loss in a 2008 split decision to Welsh southpaw Joe Calzaghe.

Foreman, now 62, expects Hopkins will need a knockout of Pascal to win a throne for the ages.

“I think he can pull it off, no doubt about it,” Foreman said. “It’s a great opportunity to lift my name up, just for a second, before it gets erased. He has got (the chance), but he’s going to have to get it by way of knockout.”

Haitian-born Pascal, 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts, has not lost in six fights since his lone defeat came at the hands of Britain’s Carl Froch in 2008 and will be making the fifth defense of his crown.