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Hopkins could be in trouble against Kovalev

hopkins2222By Dan Ambrose: 49-year-old IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) may have bit off more than he can chew in taking on WBO 175lb champion Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) in their fight next month on November 8th at the Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.

Hopkins is doing this for his legacy in order to try and pick up another belt, but he may have picked the wrong guy. Kovalev isn’t like the guys that Hopkins has beaten recently in defeating Karo Murat, Tavoris Cloud and Beibut Shumenov.

We’re talking about a whole different talent level with Kovalev compared to those three fighters that Hopkins has recently beaten.

Hopkins will be 50-years-old in January, and that’s incredibly old for a fighter. Beating the low level fighters and the paper champions is a much different thing than trying to beat someone that is actually a very good fighter in Kovalev. We just saw how Cloud’s level shown to us by him getting obliterated by Artur Beterbiev in just 2 rounds.

This is the same Cloud that Hopkins beat by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 117-111 last year. If Beterbiev was able to do that to Cloud then it’s quite likely that Kovalev would make it just as easy in beating him.

That kind of shows the gulf between Kovalev and Hopkins right now. He’s not at a high enough level to take care of a fighter like Kovalev even if he chooses to try and move for 12 rounds or hold constantly in every round. Hopkins can hold and he can’t move enough to avoid getting hit with a lot of massive shots from Kovalev in this fight.

The Kovalev-Hopkins fight is likely going to play out along the lines of Hopkins backing up to a corner and trying to dodge or block all the incoming fire with his shoulder roll defense. It’ll be like how Hopkins fought Shumenov and Karo Murat. He went to the corner and stood there with his shoulder roll looking to block shots.

Hopkins ended up getting hit with a lot of shots by Murat, and he was hit a fair amount of times by Shumenov even though he was throwing just pot shots. Kovalev will be throwing combinations and he’s going to have Hopkins under constant fire.

While I think Hopkins will be able to block some of the shots, he’s not going to be able to block everything that’s thrown his way. At the same time his pot shot style of fighting isn’t going to be a match for all the punches that Kovalev is landing.

If it goes the distance, the only way I see Hopkins winning the fight is if the judges give Hopkins a controversial decision where he’s out-landed by a huge margin and they still give him the decision.

Hopkins will be able to land clean shots every now and then, but he’s going to be getting hit so frequently with shots to the head and body. It’s going to be huge advantage in Kovalev’s favor in terms of punches landed in the fight.

Kovalev likely will focus a lot of his shots downstairs to Hopkins body because the 49-year-old fighter is probably going to be leaning backwards with his head over the ropes to avoid getting hit with head shots. This will save Hopkins from a lot of punishment, but it’ll leave his body wide open for punches all night long.

When you get older fighters that are hanging on by fighting weaker opposition like the guys Hopkins has been facing, they tend to fall apart before your very eyes when they step it up against a quality fighter. I believe that’s what’s going to happen in this fight on November 8th. Hopkins is going to get made to look his age by Kovalev, and boxing fans are going to wonder why they ever thought that Hopkins had a chance to win the fight.

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