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Kovalev says Hopkins gave him experience to use for Ward

Andre Ward Bernard Hopkins Sergey KovalevBy Allan Fox: IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) believes he got some valuable experience in facing the crafty Bernard Hopkins in their fight in November 2014. Hopkins has a fighting style very similar to that of the 32-year-old Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs), and Kovalev had little problems in beating Hopkins by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 120-106, 120-107 and 120-107. Hopkins was focusing on his defense a good portion of the fight, and not throwing a lot of punches.

In watching Hopkins fight, it was very similar to how Ward fought Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) last Saturday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Ward was focusing on his offense only around 25 percent of the time.

Most of the time, Ward was just trying not to be hit. It mae for a really dull fight because Ward didn’t have the offense, power or the workrate to make for an interesting fight.

“I can say I got some experience from fighting Bernard Hopkins,” Kovalev said to the media. “I hope it will help me against Andre Ward.”

Kovalev is going to need to fight a lot better against Ward than he did against Hopkins if he wants to win the fight, because he was too cautious against Hopkins. Kovalev was spending a lot of the time trying to box Hopkins rather than using his punching power, size and youth to overwhelm the then 48-year-old Hopkins. It should have been a little easier fight for Kovalev if he had gone after Hopkins hand let his shots go in combinations rather than in single shots.

Ward is capable of throwing more punches than Hopkins. Ward isn’t going to throw a lot of shots, because he never was a fighter that threw a lot of punches. But he’s going to be looking to hit Kovalev with the same sneaky shots that he was hitting Barrera with last Saturday night. This means that Kovalev can expect to get hit with jabs when he’s coming forward, and sneaky right hand punches. The good news for Kovalev is that Ward doesn’t have any power for the 175lb weight class, so Kovalev should be able to walk right through Ward’s single shots to punish him with power punches.

Kovalev will need to throw a lot of punches because the judges will likely be impressed with Ward’s Mayweather-like pot shots like they were last Saturday night. It’s no good for Kovalev to outwork Ward by a little bit and still wind up losing the fight due to him getting hit with the cleaner pot shots.

Kovalev will need to be able to throw many more punches in order to impress the judges. You’ve got to figure that many of Kovalev’s shots will wind up missing due to Ward focusing on his defense so much. If Kovalev can only land 15 percent of his punches like Barrera did, then he’s going to need to make sure that he throw twice as many punches to so that the judges can’t ignore the punches he’s landing in the fight.

Kovalev and Ward will be meeting up later this year in November after the two of them have fought once more. Kovalev will be fighting in the summer against an opponent still to be determined. The same with Ward.

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