IBF and WBA light heavyweight champion of the world Bernard Hopkins faces off against WBO world champion Sergey ‘the Krusher’ Kovalev in a unification fight at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City on November 8th.
Bernard Hopkins turns 50 years of age in January and is still reigning the light heavyweight division. Often referred to as a freak of nature ‘the executioner’ as he was formerly known has now rebranded himself ‘the alien’; a fitting ring name for his remarkable achievements in being the oldest champion. He made his professional début in 1988, over 26 years ago and has faced some of the biggest names along the way. His opponent Sergey Kovalev would have been a mere 5 year old kid at the time.
As Darwin once said ‘it’s not the strongest or the most intelligent that survive. It is the most adaptable’. Unlike the likes of Roy Jones Jr for example who continues to box on and on and become the faintest of shadows of their imperious best when in their prime, Hopkins has found a way to adapt and keep winning. Despite always having possessed good speed and power he was never the quickest or the hardest hitter and despite being a good physical specimen for his age now their are more youthful, fresher fighters. Although physical attributes naturally diminish with age, it has affected him less than most and he has been able to draw upon his years of ring craft and highly developed boxing IQ accumulated through his 494 rounds of boxing as a pro. Their is no doubt though that Kovalev is a fighter on a higher level than Hopkins recent adversaries such as Beibut Shumenov who he beat to claim the WBA belt.
The iron fisted Russian Sergey Kovalev has one of the highest knockout percentages in the game behind Golovkin. He has such conclusive knockout power that he reduces his opponents into being reticent to throw leather, effectively rendering them in survival mode. Kovalev’s most notable win came against the previously unbeaten Welshman Nathan Cleverly in August 2013 as he decimated him in his own backyard in Cardiff to seize the WBO belt via a fourth round TKO. Few of his opponents have lasted even that long though. Blake Camarillo was his most recent victim and he fell in just two.
31year old Kovalev is in his prime and is a heavy favourite going into the bout. However he isn’t particularly quick which will help Hopkins to negate his power. Hopkins has never been knocked out before and has faced many big punchers before in his time. This fight may be closer than many people expect and a Hopkins points win is certainly within the realms of possibility if he can stand up to the sheer power.