Kovalev stayed composed when he couldn’t KO Hopkins, says trainer
By Dan Ambrose: John David Jackson, the trainer for IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs), thinks one of the biggest reasons why Kovalev was able to beat the 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) in their recent fight on November 8th was due to Kovalev keeping his head and not getting frustrated easily when he was unable to score a knockout over Hopkins at some point in their fight.
Kovalev put Hopkins on the floor in the 1st round, and he also hurt him in the 12th. However, Hopkins did a good job of taking Kovalev’s best shots to continue fighting.
“Father Time kind of caught up with Bernard tonight also. You have to say that. I mean, 10 years ago, it might have been a different fight but it went in our favor,” said Jackson via RingTV.com. “What makes Sergey different from most other young fighters is that he never got frazzled and when he couldn’t knock Bernard out, he never got upset.”
Jackson thinks the experience that he gained from having fought Hopkins in the past helped him come up with the perfect game plan in order to beat him. Jackson fought a very much different Hopkins in 1993. The fact that Hopkins could no longer do the things he did back then made it a much easier fight for Kovalev.
Hopkins was unable to attack with lead right hands or left hooks like he normally does, because Kovalev was frequently prepared to nail Hopkins with right hands to the head when he went on the attack. We saw Kovalev drop Hopkins to the canvas in the 1st round after nailing him with a right hand just as Hopkins was coming forward to land one of his own shots.
“You can see that the timing wasn’t there and when he got hit on the shoulders, he was falling off balance. That’s just time,” said Jackson.
What was worse for Hopkins than his lack of timing was his low work rate. Hopkins looked like he was just trying to survive rather than coming to actually win the fight.