On November 8th, 2014, the career of 49-year-old boxing legend, Bernard Hopkins, may have finally come to an end. The ageless wonder has beaten some of the sport’s best over the past six years, such as Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal, but it was an all different matter after touching gloves with his latest dance partner.
Sergey Kovalev, a fighter known for his vaunted power, proved he was no hype job after landing a lopsided Unanimous Decision at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. This was not Hopkins vs Shumenov – a fight Hopkins could control. En route to scoring the victory, Hopkins of course had to endure a lot more punishment than he is used to. Kovalev fought a smart, disciplined fight, implementing his power when it counted.
The ‘Krusher’ hurt Hopkins several times, starting in round 1 following a knockdown from a big right hand. From then on, Hopkins reduced his punch output significantly, and found himself eating hard punches, particularly when on the ropes, and, in the 12th round which he barely survived. (see video fight highlights)
Official scorecards tallied the bout at 120-106, 120-107, and 120-107. Following the win, Kovalev now unifies the WBA, IBF, and WBO Light Heavyweight titles, and improves his unbeaten record to 26 wins, 1 draw, with 24 knockouts.
Like fellow Middleweight, Gennady Golovkin, and Junior Welterweight, Lucas Matthysse, he possesses a frightening knockout ratio exceeding eighty-five percent. Hopkin’s proud record now stands at 55 wins, 7 losses, 2 draws, with 32 knockouts.
Post fight, both pugilists should be applauded greatly for the show they put on. Hopkins has not only stepped up to the plate by facing the much feared Kovalev, but has also gone the distance – something his last nine opponents (who weren’t pushing 50 years old) failed to do. He displayed his courage and, despite arguably winning zero rounds, managed to land some notable shots of his own.
As for Kovalev, he should receive much praise for beating Hopkins – and the win should not be watered down due to his opponent’s ‘mature’ age. Yes, Hopkins was no spring chicken, but let’s remember that there was a fair number of decent fighters prior, including world champions, who had been unable to beat him.
Both fighters had praise and mutual respect for one another after the bell which is always good to see. While Kovalev will no doubt move on to another headlining fight, the future is uncertain for Hopkins after the veteran stated he’s unsure whether retirement will follow.
Hopkins could probably carry on and remain a force in the division, but one wonders what there is left to prove? He has given his all to the sport, and is on roller skates into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Whatever he chooses, we respect his decision and wish him well.
What did you think of Kovalev vs Hopkins? Was this the most significant win of Kovalev’s career? Is there anyone out there at Light Heavyweight who can cause the ‘Krusher’ problems? And what of Hopkin’s career? A sure-fire Hall of Famer in waiting?
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