Sergey Kovalev vs Bernard Hopkins Preview Nov 8
The ageless Bernard Hopkins will be taking on undefeated WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia this Saturday, November 8 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Hopkins will be putting up his IBF and WBA titles in the fight, so as long as we don’t have a draw here we’ll be seeing a major unification. The WBC belt is held by Adonis Stevenson. This 12-rounder can be seen live in the U.S. and Canada on HBO and fans in Britain can catch the action on BoxNation.
The 31-year-old Kovalev enters the ring with an impressive and near-perfect record of 25-0-1 with 23 Kos. The 49-year-old Hopkins is 55-6-2 and has 32 stoppages to his name. Other than the age difference, the big story here is the power of Kovalev against the experience and tactics of Hopkins. Kovalev is known as one of the hardest hitters in the sport today, but he hasn’t really fought any elite opponents. So far he’s faced the likes of Blake Caparello, Cedric Agnew, Nathan Cleverly, Gabriel Campillo, and Darnell Boone. The only bout he didn’t win was a two-round technical draw against Grover Young in 2011.
Hopkins on the other hand, has been in the ring against some of the best such as Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones Jr., Joe Calzaghe, Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, William Joppy, Simon Brown, Glen Johnson, and Lupe Aquino. His losses have been against Jermain Taylor (twice), Jones, Calzaghe, Dawson. He also lost his pro debut back in 1988 when Clinton Mitchell beat him by a four-round majority decision. Hopkins has never been stopped and has draws against Pascal and Segundo Mercado.
Hopkins stands 6-feet-1-inch tall and has an inch height advantage as well as a 2.5-inch reach advantage with his 75-inch wingspan. The Philadelphia fighter also has a huge edge in experience as he’s boxed 494 rounds as a pro compared to just 72 by Kovalev. Of course, one of the main reasons for this is because Kovalev usually knocks his opponents out. Hopkins is good at controlling the tempo and range in his fights, but he shouldn’t be allowed to. He’s given way too much respect in the ring by his opponents and that’s often the main reason he comes away with the win.
Hopkins isn’t the cleanest fighter around, but he’s always in great shape. He has good power, speed and footwork and is also a fine defensive boxer. His biggest problem is that he doesn’t throw anywhere near enough punches. However, he has improved on this in the last few fights. Kovalev has more power and is also a fine boxer. If he lets his hands go at every opportunity he should be able to at least take a decision here. He had an excellent amateur career and knows what he’s doing in the ring, but he can’t make the mistake of following Hopkins lead. We just don’t know how effective Kovalev will be when he steps up in class and takes on an elite fighter.
Both boxers have good chins, but lack of power could do Hopkins in. He hasn’t stopped anybody since back in 2004 when he dropped De La Hoya with a body shot. If he can’t keep Kovalev off of him he’s going to pay for it with a lot of leather in his face and body. Look for Hopkins to do his share of holding and try to turn this into an awkward and ugly fight. Kovalev just needs to initiate the action without letting up. Force Hopkins to fight all three minutes of every round.
Hopkins deserves a lot of credit and respect for what he’s achieved and for still fighting the best in the world at his age. However, anybody who has the common sense to let their hands go and force him to fight should beat him, especially a hard-hitting fellow world champion. Too many opponents allow Hopkins to dictate the pace and rest when he wants to. An all-out toe-to-toe brawl is something he tries to avoid. Kovalev needs to give him no option other than to fight. If the Russian can do this he’ll score a late stoppage or a controversial decision. Even if he doesn’t stop Hopkins, we could see a knockdown or two.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the latest odds on all of the big fights. The odds of a Kovalev victory are listed at -250 while Hopkins is listed as +210. Visit 5Dimes.eu to see up to date odds and to bet on this fight. You should also check out our recent boxing betting predictions to see how we’ve done.