Atlantic City, New Jersey- The legend Bernard Hopkins, who will turn 50-years old in two months, entered the ring against Russian Sergey Kovalev Saturday night. On HBO, Golden Boy Promotions delivered a fight night to remember as Hopkins dragged Kovalev through all twelve rounds. Kovalev applied a beating to the “Alien”, formally known as “The Executioner”, as he earned a unanimous decision over his elder. The title bout took place at Boardwalk Hall.
Kovalev’s victory over Hopkins gave him the light heavyweight unification of three light heavyweight titles. The bout went the distance with complete domination, as the Russian won all twelve rounds. The first round ended with a score of 10-8, as Kovalev caught Hopkins with a right hook dropping him for the canvas. The Boardwalk Hall cheered once Hopkins regained his legs and continued on.
The knockdown in the first round was the sole time a fighter dropped. Throughout the fight the “Alien” eat numerous shots that nearly finished him. The two danced around the ring as Kovalev pressured Hopkins against the ropes. The American was able to counter with a few strikes that Kovalev walked through.
In between rounds Kovalev sat on the stool in his red trunks listening to his trainer John David Jackson. Jackson, 51, continually informed his fighter to work the body of Hopkins with the plan he’ll drop his gloves and leave his head in the “No Parking Zone”.
In January, less than two months away, Hopkins will turn 50. His trainer for the last 10 years, Naazim Richardson, kept requesting more from the legend as each round went on. He requested him to move his feet and stay out of the corners. Unfortunately Hopkins struggled to do so.
After 12 rounds, the “Krusher” Kovalev was up by 13 points on Harold Lederman’s unofficial score card, by a score of 120-107. The final punch count for the fight listed Hopkins with 65 landed out of 195 thrown. Kovalev’s final punch stats had him at five percent less than Hopkins thirty three percent. He landed 166 punches out of his 585 thrown.
The American absorbed 44 body shots and 122 head shots. The Russian didn’t nearly suffer as much as he took 17 body shots and 48 head shots.
Kovalev never fought past 8 rounds before until his bout last night. Hopkins last knockout was against De La Hoya in 2004 and Kovalev knocked out his last nine opponents. In 1988 the “Krusher” was 5 years old and Hopkins turned pro. The legend had a total of 31 title bouts and the young prospect has had 25 total bouts.
Age played a large factor in the fight as youth showed the importance of speed and power in boxing. After Kovalev’s unanimous decision victory defending his WBO light heavyweight title, he’s unsure of whom his next opponent might be. As for Hopkins, he mentioned in the post-fight interview that it’s a “fifty-fifty” possibly he’ll enter the ring again.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.