Last night for the first time in his glittering 26 year career that Bernard 'The Alien' Hopkins was made to look entirely human.
Hopkins, just two months away from his 50th birthday, faced off with the hard-hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev in a WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight unification fight.
Coming into the fight opinion was split as to who would come away victorious, with some believing that the vicious Kovalev would knock Hopkins out and others, like myself, believing that Hopkins would be too smart and experienced and claim a close points victory.
Neither of these eventualities was to come to fruition with a one sided points victory for Kovalev being the end result.
Many felt that for Kovalev to win he would have to set a high pace and make Hopkins work for every second of every round but that wasn't to be the case. Kovalev was very disciplined and didn't over commit looking for the knock out.
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He just kept coming forward working away with solid, accurate shots and imposed his size on Hopkins throughout the contest. Hopkins generally did a good job of avoiding Kovalev's big shots but he was unable to land regularly in return.
Hopkins unable to get involved
Hopkins is a very crafty veteran of the sport, who is widely known to utilise dirty tactics when need be, but he wasn't allowed to do so in this fight. Kovalev was just too big and strong for Hopkins to be able to take risks and it made for a disappointing performance from the future hall of famer.
Hopkins was on the back foot for the majority of the fight but did have brief periods of success when he looked to take the action to Kovalev. The issue was that he would have to take shots in order to land some himself and Kovalev was the man landing the better shots.
Hopkins floored In first round
Hopkins hit the canvas in the very first round after being caught with a right hand. He didn't appear to be hurt and it seemed to be more of an issue with his balance rather than being in trouble.
Brutal 12th round
Kovalev was utterly dominant throughout the fight and none more so than in the 12th and final round, in which Hopkins initially went on the attack and landed some decent shots before Kovalev fought back in brutal fashion.
Hopkins was on the end of more punishment in the final round than he has endured in whole fights over the last few years. He was in pure defensive mode looking to survive and really the referee could have stepped in and ended the contest.
Landslide points win
Hopkins was able to make the final bell but he was clearly on the wrong end of a landslide points decision. Kovalev was the winner on the comprehensive score of 120-107, 120-107 and 120-106 and that is a fair reflection of the fight.
Still an inspiration
Hopkins still showed that he is a rare phenomenon by being able to take some huge punches and remain up right. He has a real skill of being able to ride with the shots and negate some of the power.
For a 49-year-old man to be able to take shots like he did is truly remarkable and is testament to the physical conditioning that Hopkins is in. It is also down to the dedicated life he lives and the determination of a man to defy age.
Kovalev shows his class
However this fight has truly confirmed Kovalev's status as a world-class boxer, and someone who has much better technical skills than he has been given credit for. He has real mental strength and has shown that he can stick to a game-plan which will serve him well as his exciting career continues.
Kovalev extends his record to 26 wins and one draw and the fight the public next want to see is him facing off with the other world champion at the weight class a certain Adonis Stevenson.
Stevenson himself is a massive puncher with an awkward style and a fight between the two would be expected to be an absolute war. Whether Stevenson would want the fight after seeing this performance from Kovalev is not known but boxing fans will live in hope that it can be agreed in the near future.
Time to call it a day for Hopkins?
There is no shame in his loss to a younger, bigger, stronger man and he could still so easily operate at world level, but there is little else for him to achieve in the sport as he has been there and done it all many times before.
Now would seem the right time to walk away from the sport though with all his faculties fully intact. He has nothing more to prove to the world and has stood at the top of the sport as a champion for the vast majority of my life.
He may be tempted into another big fight not happy to leave the ring on a disappointing note, but it would appear the right time to bring his prestigious career to a close.
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