Sergey Kovalev-Bernard Hopkins draws big TV ratings
Sergey Kovalev’s unanimous decision victory over Bernard Hopkins in Saturday’s light heavyweight title unification bout drew an average of 1,328,000 viewers for the live, first-time airing on HBO, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 knockouts) added Hopkins’ IBF and WBA titles to his WBO belt in a fight that became the second-highest viewed premium cable boxing event of 2014.
Kovalev-Hopkins ranks only behind Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s unanimous decision over Bryan Vera in their rematch in March, which drew 1,390 million viewers.
Kovalev-Hopkins also surpassed last month’s second-round stoppage of Marco Antonio Rubio by Gennady Golovkin with 1,304 million viewers watching the 12th defense of his WBA middleweight belt and his 18th consecutive knockout.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva broached the notion of Kovalev one day facing Golovkin during an interview with RingTV.com.
“I don’t think that if you look at the size of Sergey Kovalev, that he’s fighting at a catchweight with anybody. If they want to fight him, they’ll have to come up to his weight class. He’s holding three titles in the light heavyweight division. He’s a light heavyweight. Having said that, I’ve been in this business a long time and you can’t ever say never,” said Duva.
“Is there going to be a day when Gennady Golovkin wants to challenge himself and move up to 175 and if Sergey is still there, could it happen? I guess that anything can happen. Two of the world’s two best champions should want to fight each other, so we’ve seen guys move up in weight to test their skills and it’s a time-honored tradition in our sport. Who knows? Sounds like a good idea to me. We’ll see. Maybe someday.”
Kovalev, 31, is 13-0-1 in his past 14 fights and was coming off a second-round stoppage of Blake Caparello in August. Against Caparello, Kovalev rose from a first-round knockdown to score two of his own in the final round.
Hopkins represented Kovalev’s fourth defense of the WBO belt he won by fourth-round stoppage over previously unbeaten beltholder Nathan Cleverly, whom he dropped twice in the third round in August 2013.
Kovalev-Hopkins will be replayed tonight on HBO2 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, as will Sadam Ali’s ninth-round technical knockout victory over Luis Carlos Abregu in the welterweight co-feature.