Hopkins – Kovalev: Pen vs Sword
At 49 years of age, Bernard Hopkins has defied both logic and science by being in a position where he could unify the Light-Heavyweight division beyond just 2 world titles. The crafty fighter will be defending his IBF and WBA world titles against hard hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev, who holds the WBO world title. It’s as good an example as you’re ever likely to see of a thinker and a puncher going toe-to-toe this Saturday down in Atlantic City.
Hopkins to win +210
Kovalev to win -275
(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Hopkins is no stranger to events of this magnitude. He started as a Middleweight – losing his first pro bout in fact – and has worked his way up to Light-Heavyweight. He won his first world title in 1995 in a re-match against Ecuadorian Segundo Mercado. He defended his world Middleweight title a staggering 20 times, before moving up through the rankings at the hight weight classes. Most boxers begin to deteriorate around their mid-30’s, but Hopkins has dynamically adapted his approach to fights with age. This exclusive intellect has enabled him to be in a position where he is still competing at the highest levels of the game. Hopkins has always boxed a smart game, but is now much more economical about his work. He doesn’t have the power he once possessed; his last KO coming a decade ago against a certain Oscar De La Hoya. That said, Hopkins doesn’t go looking to land power shots and put you down. Instead, he will frustrate and steal rounds. Years of boxing have versed him well in the art of dirtier fighting. If you try and trade with Hopkins, he’ll clinch and counter you. He’s astute enough to know he cant go blow-for-blow with fighters any more, especially not at this higher weight.
His last outings have been against ranked – but not necessarily rated – opposition. Shumenov and Murat both made for relatively dull and conclusive fights. He holds notable wins over Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal at this weight also, although Hopkins was never able to get the better of the now ineffective Chad Dawson. The rest of his CV is littered with wins over household names, with his record at an impressive 55-6-2. Should ‘The Alien’ add Kovalev to his resume, he’ll be a win against forgotten Light-Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson away from holding all 4 belts at the weight, further cementing his place as an all-time great.
Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev first burst onto the scene for the majority of the UK audience by dispatching world champion Nathan Cleverly with absolute ease. Cleverly has since been forced to move up to Cruiserweight and hasn’t looked the same since. Besides that, Kovalev has only really beaten fringe competition. Campillo and Sillakh are perhaps the next best two names on the resume and certainly won’t be known to too many boxing fans, particular the more casual viewer. That said, Kovalev hasn’t just beaten these opponents – he’s flat out destroyed them. He is unbeaten and 23 of his 25 wins have come by knock-out.
‘Krusher’ is known and venerated for his punching power. However, he is far more than just a KO artist. Kovalev can also box very well. Before turning pro, he had a strong amateur career which consisted of several medals in the national Russian Championships. Kovalev has adopted parts of this into his pro game; he is exceptionally skilled at cutting off the ring and places his punches very well, often throwing viciously effective combinations. Because he is such a devastating puncher, his ring IQ and footwork can be often overlooked. He does have a tendency to leave his chin exposed when throwing big shots, but Hopkins’ lack of power these days is unlikely to punish that. Kovalev will be hoping to hold all 3 belts by the end of the night in order to force a fight with the aforementioned Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson was called out by Kovalev some time ago and has been accused of changing promoters to avoid the fight with the stone-handed Russian.
Hopkins has the trickery, ability and patience to out-box Kovalev and will most likely approach this as a normal fight. However, only one of Kovalev’s shots needs to land flush and it could well be goodnight to ‘The Alien’. Over 12 rounds and the fact that Hopkins is unlikely to KO Kovalev, you can almost be assured that some of those big shots are going to catch the veteran. I believe Hopkins will last longer than Kovalev’s recent opponents, but don’t see it progressing beyond 8 rounds
Betting Instinct tip – Kovalev to win in round 7-9 is +450 with AllYouBet.ag