Hopkins vs. Kovalev confirmed for Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
By Allan Fox: Earlier Friday, it was confirmed that the unification match-up between 49-year-old IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) will be taking place on November 8th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The fight will be televised by HBO Championship Boxing.
The Hopkins-Kovalev match-up sets up a fight between two guys with vastly different fighting styles, as Kovalev is a straight ahead slugger with crushing power; whereas Hopkins is an aging fighter who likes to box, wrestle on the inside, and slow things down to a crawl to get the advantage of his younger opponents.
Hopkins is the equivalent of an aging baseball pitcher without a fastball but with a lot of different trick pitches that he uses to get younger hitters out.
If Kovalev falls for the tricks and lets Hopkins fight at a slow pace the way he likes it, then it’s quite possible Kovalev will lose the fight. He’s got to play to his strengths by backing Hopkins up the ropes and unload on him for 3 minutes of every round, but he can’t let himself gas out in the process.
Hopkins will very likely be bending far over the ropes to keep from getting hit to the head square by Kovalev. That’s a trick that Hopkins uses to take the steam out of shots thrown at him.
Hopkins’ career was thought to be over after he was beaten by Chad Dawson in 2012 by a 12 round decision. But Hopkins has come back and beaten Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat and Beibut Shumenov in his last three fights to claim the IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles. To be sure, none of those fighters were particularly talented, and you can make a strong argument that Shumenov and Cloud were mediocre champions at best. But Hopkins was still able to beat them, so he’s got that at least going for him. However, going from beating those guys to fighting what many boxing fans feel is the best fighter in the light heavyweight division in Kovalev, is going to be a huge move up in class for Hopkins. Kovalev would likely have destroyed the same Dawson that beat Hopkins in 2012.