Writers picks on Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev
WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev has vowed to make history by defeating IBF and WBA counterpart Bernard Hopkins on Nov. 8 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
But Hopkins, who turns 50 in January, has stated that Kovalev will not only be in alien territory but that his 31-year-old rival will go down rather easily.
The following are the opinions of various boxing writers as collated by Jack Obermayer for the official Hopkins vs. Kovalev fight program.
BOB VELIN (USA Today): “Kovalev might be the hardest puncher Hopkins has faced and there is no doubt Hopkins is the smartest boxer Kovalev has faced. That should make for a fascinating match-up. Hopkins is older than old for a fighter but is probably in better shape than the Russian destroyer and has avoided damaging punishment. That said, I don’t think he will escape Kovalev’s ample power and Kovalev will not lose patience like so many of Hopkins’ most recent victims.” Kovalev: KO 10
DAN RAFAEL (ESPN.com): “Hopkins has been in this exact position many times and pulled an upset. I’ve learned my lesson. It’s a tough fight but Hopkin’s ring intelligence, experience and chin trump a Kovalev whose opponents have not been much to write home about.” Hopkins: Decision
DAVE WEINBERG (Atlantic City Press): “Hopkins will frustrate and confuse Kovalev for the first few rounds but Kovalev’s power will eventually be the difference.” Kovalev: Late-round KO
GEORGE WILLIS (New York Post): “Hopkins has proved me wrong plenty of times. He hasn’t had too much trouble with punchers. He beat [Felix] Trinidad and ruined [Kelly] Pavlik. He’ll have to prove me wrong again.” Kovalev: KO 10
MITCH ABRAMSON (New York Daily News): “Hopkins is just too crafty, too smart and still possesses the necessary athleticism to beat a top fighter. Insane that a near-50-year-old can win? No it’s not.” Hopkins: Decision
RON BORGES (Boston Herald): “Hopkins will do what he does best. He’ll mystify Kovalev into a fog of inaction and find a way to outpoint him.” Hopkins: Decision
KEITH IDEC (The Record, Woodland Park, NJ): “Hopkins took this difficult fight because he sees flaws in the heavily-hyped Kovalev that he knows he can exploit. Hopkins has never been stopped either and his vast experience advantage over Kovalev in 12-round fights will serve him well.” Hopkins: Decision
BERNARD FERNANDEZ (veteran boxing writer): “Can’t believe I’m going to the well again. Hopkins has a history of success against big punchers who come forward and try to take his head off. Will Kovalev be the guy who finally does hand it to him? No.” Hopkins: Decision
DOUG FISCHER (RingTV.com): “I think Kovalev overcomes a shaky, somewhat careful start and begins making things uncomfortable for Hopkins when he hurts the living legend to the body in the middle rounds. Kovalev’s smart pressure and heavy but accurate combination punching takes over in the late rounds and puts Hopkins into survival mode.” Kovalev: Decision
DANNY FLEXEN (British Boxing News): “Hopkins struggles with speed and work rate, far more so than strength, power and aggression. Kovalev is a dangerous predator but neither the fastest or busiest.” Hopkins: Decision
JERRY GLICK (FightNews.com): “At 49 years old, Bernard Hopkins has proven he is still great. The pick is that he will maintain his skills against the hard-hitting Kovalev and control the action to win.” Hopkins: Decision
LEE GROVES (RingTV.com): “If Kovalev fights the man instead of the icon and avoids trying to box with him, his youth, his strength and aggression should be enough. Also, John David Jackson – who fought Hopkins and worked with him in many training camps, will provide Kovalev unique insights into what makes Hopkins tick as well as what ticks him off.” Kovalev: Decision
GRAHAM HOUSTON (British Boxing Monthly): “I think Kovalev will out-work Hopkins; don’t think he will try to blast out the old ring general.” Kovalev: Decision
JAKE KAPLAN (Philadelphia Daily News): “The ageless Hopkins will defy the odds again – against an opponent young enough to be his son. Like many opponents before him, Kovalev will have trouble handling Hopkins’ mind games before and during the fight.” Hopkins: Decision
STEVE KIM (UCNLive.com): “I have a gut feeling that Kovalev will be the one guy to not fall into the trap that Hopkins lays so well and will continue to bang away at the arms and shoulders of ‘The Alien’ to win.” Kovalev: Decision
MICHAEL MARLEY (Boxing Examiner.com): “Bernard may be an old dog but he is an old dog who doesn’t need to learn new tricks. His old bags, of tricks still work exceedingly well; thank you. Kovalev is a typical tough Russian but he will be out-slicked and out-tricked by BHop.” Hopkins: Decision
ROBERT MORALES (Los Angeles Daily News): “I rarely go against Hopkins because of his defense and trickery but have to go with Kovalev in this one because he’ll be unfazed by the stuff that lulls others to sleep when they are in with Hopkins.” Kovalev: Late-round KO
TONY PAIGE (WFAN 660 Radio): “Sounds crazy but this is it for Hopkins. Kovalev’s too strong and too busy. Dare I say…” Kovalev: KO 9
CLIFF ROLD (BoxingScene.com): “Eventually the sand runs out of the hourglass. Kovalev isn’t just a good puncher; he’s a smart boxer. Along with youth, that will be too much for the old man.” Kovalev: KO 10
MICHAEL ROSENTHAL (The Ring): “I suspect Hopkins bit off more than he can chew in this case. Kovalev isn’t the boxer Hopkins is but I believe his skills are better than some might realize, certainly good enough to give Hopkins trouble. That combined with the Russian’s unquestioned punching power will be too much for Hopkins to handle.” Kovalev: KO 10
LEM SATTERFIELD (RingTV.com): “Hopkins will be completely relaxed in this fight. He once told me that Kovalev is the virtual mirror image of Pavlik. However, I don’t think that this will be as easy but I do believe that he’ll find a way to be victorious.” Hopkins: Decision
TIM STRUBY (ESPN The Magazine): “Once again, Hopkins will defy conventional thought. He’ll stay out of range, trash talk, hold and frustrate Kovalev. Hopkins will also pick precise spots to stick and move; it won’t be pretty.” Hopkins: Decision
STEVE TOBEY (MaxBoxing.com): “Yes, Kovalev has youth and power but Hopkins is smarter and still able to execute. He wouldn’t have taken this fight otherwise.” Hopkins: Decision
FINAL TALLY – Bernard Hopkins: 12, Sergey Kovalev: 11
FANS CAN WATCH HOPKINS-KOVALEV DURING AMIR MANSOUR-FRED KASSI FIGHT
Heavyweight Amir Mansour (20-1, 15 KOs) will return to action on Nov. 8 at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., where he will face Fred Kassi (18-2, 10 KOs) as part of NBC Sports Network’s “Fight Night” program that is being promoted by Main Events.
Fans who are in attendance at Mansour-Kassi can watch the HBO-televised Hopkins-Kovalev on numerous TV screens in the Vision Bar at the entrance to the Events Center, according to a release by Main Events, which also promotes Kovalev.
TIM BRADLEY, VIRGIL HUNTER TO REVIEW MANNY PACQUIAO-CHRIS ALGIERI ‘UNDER THE LIGHTS’
Two-division titlewinner Tim Bradley and trainer Virgil Hunter will join HBO’s Max Kellerman on a Nov. 15 segment previewing Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. 22 defense of his WBO welterweight belt against rising WBO junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri in Macao, China.
Entitled “Under The Lights: Pacquiao-Algieri,” the show will debut at at 11:45 p.m. ET/PT and delve into the Pacquiao-Algieri fight, to be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Algieri (20-0, 8 knockouts) will fight Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) at a catchweight of 144 pounds at the Cotai Arena in Venetian Macao, site of Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Brandon Rios last November.
Pacquiao, 35, was last in action in April, when he dethroned Bradley by unanimous decision to regain the belt he lost to Bradley in June 2012.
Algieri, 30, was an underdog in his last bout in June, when he overcame a right eye that was nearly shut for a dramatic split decision victory that dethroned Ruslan Provodnikov for his title.
Named “Trainer of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America for 2011, Hunter has guided RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward as well two-division titlewinner Amir Khan among others.
DUSTY HERNANDEZ-HARRISON RETURNS ON NOV. 1
Dusty Hernandez-Harrison will face Michael Clark on Nov. 1 at the Constitution Hall in his native Washington, D.C., his attorney and promoter, Jeff Fried, of All-In Entertainment announced on Wednesday.
A 20-year-old welterweight, Hernandez-Harrison (23-0, 12 knockouts) is coming off a unanimous decision over Wilfredo Acuna in July which took place in support of WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin’s third-round stoppage over ex-beltholder Daniel Geale at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Hernandez-Harrison’s victory over Acuna marked his second appearance at the Garden, having unanimously decisioned Josh Torres on the undercard of Golovkin’s eighth-round stoppage of Curtis Stevens last November.
Clark (44-11-1, 18 KOs), 41, has lost six of his past nine fights, being knocked out five times during that stretch. Clark’s fifth-round stoppage loss to Jamie Kavanaugh in June represented the third straight time he has been knocked out.