Sergey Kovalev ( 26-0-1, 23 KO) dominated Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KO) in Atlantic City tonight with scores of 120-107 X2 and 120-106 in route to a unanimous decision victory. Kovalev now owns the WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight belts.
Kovalev knocked down Hopkins in the opening round with a crisp right hand to the side of the Alien’s head but Hopkins was able to recover quickly and make it a non issue. It did however, set the tone for the rest of the fight as Hopkins fought cautiously throughout.
Kovalev proved he could do more in the ring than just look for the knockout. He boxed brilliantly using a lot of feints to keep Hopkins off balance while going to the body and using excellent movement. “I wanted to show boxing fans how I could do boxing, and I did it” said Kovalev.
Of course he lived up to his reputation of being “The Krusher” by landing huge power shots on Hopkins. The veteran showed his mettle as he always does by taking the shots better than fighters half his age would or have done against Kovalev. This wasn’t lost on Kovalev as he stated, “I tried to knock him out but he has good defense, the best in my division”
When Hopkins was asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman how, at the age of 49, he was able to withstand Kovalev’s power, he replied, “Because I’m crazy, the fans want to see fights, they don’t want to see a guy running, I wanted to engage because he was engaging”
Kovalev was very disciplined in his approach. When he appeared to have stunned Hopkins on a few occasions, he didn’t get careless and start swinging wildly choosing to move back, evaluate the damage, reset, and continue to stick to the mission. Hopkins agreed, ” The better man was Kovalev, he had a good game plan, fought a great technical fight, used his reach and distance, has mechanics, has patience, every time he got hit by me, he stepped back and made me reset” “He traded punches with me on his terms”
A lot had been made about the age of Hopkins. At the age of 49 he was doing things in the sport that were unprecedented. He showed both ends of the spectrum in this one. While he landed and took some decent shots, he looked slow and overmatched as the older fighter.
Hopkins tried his best and has nothing to be ashamed of here. Even with a lopsided loss, his legacy is strengthened by the heart he exhibited against the best in the division.
All that awaits Kovalev now for a chance to unify the division entirely is a matchup with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson. Something that Superman hasn’t been overly excited about making happen. Maybe it has something too do with the Krusher’s kryptonite.
On the televised undercard bout, Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali boxed beautifully while landing perfectly timed power shots in route to stopping Carlos Abregu by TKO at 1:54 of round 9 in Atlantic City. From the opening bell, Ali used excellent lateral movement and quick combinations to consistently dominate Abregu round after round. Ali landed a perfect counter right cross to drop Abregu in the sixth round. Abregu never seemed to fully recover from the shot and looked weary as the rounds went on. In the ninth, Ali closed the show by knocking down Abregu and even though Abregu was able to get up, Ali unloaded on him causing the referee to jump in and stop the fight. No contreversy here, the right call was made. Abregu had been hurt since the sixth round and was outclassed.