Bernard Hopkins Hopes To Shock The World Again
At an age where most fighters and athletes would be sitting on the couch retired and long gone from whatever sport they were in, Bernard Hopkins is truly an otherworldly “Alien”.
WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard “Alien” Hopkins, who is turning 50 years old on January 15th, will be fighting undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on November 8th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Kovalev is known as the “Krusher” because he’s knocked out 23 out of 26 opponents in his career. The 31-year old Kovalev, ranked #2 in the light heavyweight division by The Ring, is considered one of the best fighters in the weight class today.
Hopkins on the other hand, The Ring’s #1 ranked light heavyweight, is coming off an April 19th victory over Beibut Shumenov, where he became the oldest boxer in history to win, defend and unify a weight class. Before this improbable run at light heavyweight, Hopkins was considered as one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time, having defended his title twenty consecutive times and becoming the first boxer to hold all four major alphabet belts. But what makes Hopkins out of this world isn’t any of those achievements, it’s because he’s aged like wine.
After winning only once in his four fights from December 2010 to April 2012, the ageless Hopkins has won three straight bouts and captured two world titles in the process. And now he’s aiming for yet another one and hoping to shock the world once again.
Relishes The Underdog Role
Hopkins has been the underdog in this fight since the betting lines opened last August. Kovalev is much younger and presumably more stronger. Like Gennady Golovkin at Middleweight, he has been on a path of destruction. Kovalev is undefeated in 26 bouts, with a 2011 technical draw the only blemish in an otherwise immaculate slate. None of his fights have gone beyond Round 8 and his last nine opponents have lasted just a total of 33 rounds.
But Hopkins, the “Alien”, relishes the underdog role, saying that being the underdog has been the story of his life. Hopkins was convicted for nine felonies as a teenager and spent five years in prison before turning to boxing to turn his life around. He would like to be known as the guy who’s kept defying the odds. Kelly Pavlik (-350), Jean Pascal (-150) and most recently Tavoris Cloud (-165) were all favorites but Hopkins dominated them.
Kovalev is definitely the toughest test in Hopkins’ second coming, but he is not the toughest foe he’s faced. Hopkins’ boxing resume is a list of future Hall-of-Famers as he’s taken on all comers. Even at 49, Hopkins has supreme defense, elite ring generalship and a granite chin that’s going to make him a sentimental favorite in this one. Kovalev has been impressive, but the only named fighter he’s fought is Briton Nathan Cleverly. Hopkins will be the biggest name he’s ever fought.
Kovalev will be looking for the early kill, while Hopkins will try to survive the early onslaught and win in the later rounds. It will be interesting to see if Kovalev can land his strong punches against a very elusive target just as it will be to watch if Hopkins can take Kovalev’s pressure and power punches. He’s been never knocked out although he’s seen the canvass a couple of times in his career.
Hopkins-Kovalev on November 8 will be one of the biggest fights of the year not just because of these ng fighters’ contrasting career paths but because of future implications. The winner should get to fight WBC titlist Adonis Stevenson, if that fight can be made, for all the marbles in boxing’s light heavyweight division.
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