Will Kovalev mentally crumble against Hopkins?
By Chris Williams: IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) has made a career out of getting the better of guys that were supposed to have more talent than him. We saw that in his fights against Joe Calzaghe, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Roy Jones Jr, Jermain Taylor, Jean Pascal, Kelly Pavlik any many, many more fighters.
I know Hopkins lost to Calzaghe and Taylor, but a lot of boxing fans feel that Hopkins was robbed in those fights and deserved a decision. The same goes for his first fight against Pascal.
Hopkins will be looking to prove himself once again when he faces WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) on November 8th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
The 49-year-old Hopkins is going to be looking to out-smart the 31-year-old Kovalev and put him in his place. Kovalev is much younger, but he doesn’t have the experience, boxing skills, or the knowledge that Hopkins has going for him.
Hopkins has lost a little bit of hand speed and mobility of the years, and his reflexes aren’t quite what they used to be. But he knows how to fight, and that makes up for the percentages that he’s lost from his game as far as physical deterioration through aging.
Kovalev has been knocking everybody out during his career, but he’s also been facing weak oppositions since he turned pro. Kovalev has always fought in the 175 pound division, which is one of the weakest in the sport, and he’s been dominating guys that aren’t that talented.
Knocking out the guys that Kovalev has been knocking out is no big deal. He’s stopped guys like Ismayl Sillakh and Blake Caparello, but those guys aren’t even close to being in the same class as the 49-year-old Hopkins.
I expect Hopkins to nullify Kovalev’s punching power by using movement, the shoulder roll defense, and upper body movement. Kovalev won’t be able to land anything cleanly, and he’s going to lose a lot of energy in punching at the head and torso of Hopkins.
Sooner or later, Kovalev is going to run out of gas, and once that happens, Hopkins is going to come on and take over the fight and win an easy decision. This will be the biggest win for Hopkins in many years. The fight will set up what could be Hopkins’ swansong against WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevens on in 2015.
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