In what could be one of the most monumental nights in the recent history of boxing, Bernard Hopkins will face Sergey Kovalev on the 24th November in a light heavyweight bout of epic proportions. Despite being nearly 50 years old, the ageless Hopkins will be on the brink of unifying the entire light heavyweight division if he beats Kovalev.
Hopkins already holds the WBA and IBF titles and he will add the WBO belt to his collection if he can overcome the ‘Krusher’. If Hopkins is successful in his endeavours against Kovalev then the WBC belt held by Adonis Stevenson will be the final missing piece of the puzzle.
Alien not mentioning the dreaded 'R' world
For the tee-total Hopkins, who insists that boxing is his intoxication, he must be living the most euphoric high right now. The flipside to his current exalted stated consciousness though is that he will suffer the most incredible comedown if he fails in his mission against Kovalev. The debris of his dreams will leave a detritus that makes retirement, not unifying titles, seem like his only destination.
There is a dichotomy of opinion in the boxing world regarding the result of the fight. Many experts feel it is preordained that Hopkins will prevail against Kovalev. Those who subscribe to this school of thought insist that Hopkins is too classy and crafty for his Russian counterpart. The ‘Alien’s’ apostles say that Kovalev’s super natural power will be subordinated by B-HOP’s superior intellect and experience. In contrast, supporters of Kovalev feel that Hopkins has finally bitten off more than he can chew in his latest assignment against one of the most feared fighters in the sport.
Master of manipulation capable of turning back the clock again
Whilst I am still somewhat undecided about the conclusion of the contest, I feel that Hopkins will win a decision if he succeeds in sucking the drama out of the contest by slowing the pace down to a tempo more suited to his advancing years. On the other hand, Kovalev will fashion a victory if he can force the pace of the action and apply sustained pressure to Hopkins for the duration of the fight. While his concussive punch is his most potent weapon, his boxing skills are often undermined by the unbelievable power he possesses.
However, Bernard Hopkins, the great boxing professor, will place no merit in the popular myth that Kovalev is simply a ‘big puncher’. Hopkins has been around the block far too many times to believe the bogus claims that Kovalev is a crude brawler when there is concrete evidence that supports the contrary. Kovalev is a very competent boxer, a fact Bernard Hopkins is fully aware of.
Can the Krusher find the target?
Furthermore, against one of the finest defensive fighters in the history of boxing, all the signs suggest that Kovalev’s power will not be the most important factor against Hopkins. Conversely, it seems that Kovalev’s success or failure to dictate the tempo of the fight and avoid the claustrophobic clinching of Hopkins will be the most decisive factors in determining who wins the fight.
This theory certainly seems to have more credence than the claims that Kovalev’s only chance of victory is via a knockout. After all, Hopkins has never even come close to being knocked out, yet he has been beaten by decision 6 times.
Whilst I do think that November 24 will be a historic night for boxing, my reasons for believing so are very different to that of most boxing fans. For me, it could be the night where the old master of the sweet science is beaten by the boxing skills of a man who has been unfairly dismissed as a crude brawler.