Sergey Kovalev Defeats Bernard Hopkins
Sergey Kovalev proved that Aliens don’t exist.
Power and Skill
In a masterful display of power and skill, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev dominated IBF and WBA (Super) beltholder Bernard Hopkins to become the unified world light heavyweight champion on Saturday night. Kovalev shocked the pro-Hopkins crowd at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey by pitching a shutout and winning by the scores of 120-107, 120-107 and 120-106.
Known as the Krusher for knocking out 23 of his 26 opponents, the undefeated Kovalev went the 12-round distance for the first time in his career. But instead of getting tested by the 49-year old Hopkins, who had gone 12 rounds so many times in the past, Kovalev gave Hopkins the worst beating in his illustrious 26-year career.
Establishing His Power
The key to dominating Hopkins in this fight was establishing his power. Kovalev dropped Hopkins for only the fifth time in his career with a clean right hand late in round one. Although Hopkins immediately got up, he knew he was in for a rough night. While he had controlled most of his previous opponents with his ring generalship, Kovalev refused to take the bait and instead dictated the tempo by darting in and out with powerful combinations. The 31-year old Russian did not appear to rush and go for the knockout, even if his punches often rocked Hopkins. He was ready to fight for twelve rounds, and he was ready for anything that Hopkins had under his sleeve.
After the bout, Kovalev said that he wanted to show the fans that he can box and that he is more than just the “Krusher”. He added that he “needed to control the whole fight” and he did that. Hopkins on the other hand, only had a few answers for the Krusher’s head and body attack.
Offense Was Non-Existent
The crowd waited for Hopkins to explode, but that didn’t happen. Instead, his offense was non-existent as he tried to move too much to avoid Kovalev’s bombs. It didn’t look like his reflexes or movements were slowing down. It was more like he was caught off-guard by the skill and power of his much younger opponent. Hopkins’ corner urged him to be more active, but Kovalev was a puzzle that was hard to solve even for the man who called himself the Alien for his “otherworldly” gifts.
Compubox numbers had Kovalev landing 166 out of 585 punches (28%) while Hopkins could only connect on 65 of 196 punches (33%). The 38 punches he landed in Round 12 were the most punches ever landed on Hopkins in a single round during the 41 fights tracked by Compubox.
When asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman if he’d continue to fight, Hopkins said it’s 50-50 citing that he’s done more than what he should have done in his career. Meanwhile, Kovalev is expecting to fight again in March, hopefully against Adonis Stevenson for the undisputed light heavyweight title. Stevenson is slated to fight Dmitry Sukhotsky on December 19.
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