Hopkins: I’m not going to run from Kovalev, I’ll disarm him
By Jim Dower: IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) says he doesn’t plan on running from WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) in their fight on November 8th on HBO Championship Boxing at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The 49-year-old Hopkins says he’ll take away Kovalev’s offensive weapons.
“Now you’re stepping up into a different neighborhood,” Hopkins said. “I’m in no contest to show I have better chin, by no means. Yawl have to pay homage after November 8. I’m not gonna run from his gun, I’ll disarm him.”
Hopkins is going to need to show some mobility in this fight unless his plan is to clinch all night long with the punch and grab that he’s used in the past. Even that strategy might not work against Kovalev, because he punches well at close range. His trainer John David Jackson will likely have gone over a scenario where Hopkins is grabbing him 10-15 times per round in clinches.
You can’t expect the referee to do anything to stop excessive clinching by Hopkins, because there are few referees that actively stop clinching. Hopkins won’t make himself look good in holding, but if he wins the fight I’m sure that’s the only thing he cares about.
“I have no strategy for the fight. I fight like a street fight.’ Whatever works, I guess,” Kovalev said.
For Kovalev to say he has no strategy seems a little hard to believe. He’s obviously going to have a game plan for this fight, even if it’s the same game plan he usually has in looking to slug. Kovalev will be trying to punch Hopkins’ lights out in this fight, because it’s the best strategy for beating him.
Kovalev isn’t going to be able to out-box a fighter like Hopkins, because he doesn’t have those kinds of boxing skills. Former WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson did a good job of out-boxing Hopkins two years ago in beating him by a 12 round decision, but Dawson had a good jab, a long reach, and excellent defensive skills.
Kovalev has none of those things going for him. He’s got to go out and try and push a fast pace so that he can score a knockout or at least batter Hopkins in enough rounds to earn a decision. If Kovalev wastes times trying to box, he’s going to lose too many rounds for him to get a decision.