Sergey Kovalev meets son; trainer says ‘Father Time’ caught up to Hopkins
“I was waiting for this moment for such a long time. The first night [before] I met my son was sleepless,” said Kovalev, 31, who joined his family in Los Angeles on Monday evening. “But I didn’t think about that because I am just finally enjoying time with my family. My newborn son is healthy and that is most important thing to me.”
Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 knockouts) scored a shutout unanimous decision over Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, unifying the IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles with the WBO belt he already owned.
When Kovalev’s wife, Natalia gave birth to their son, Aleksandr, in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, the determined Russian still was training in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
“I was waiting for my husband to come home whether with victory or no victory,” said Natalia Kovalev. “But of course, knowing him, he brought his newborn son a victory. Now we work together to raise our son and we are very, very happy.”
Kovalev left the post-fight press conference a little after 2 a.m. to call Natalia and spent all day Sunday wandering alone on the Atlantic City boardwalk basking in the aftermath of his triumph.
“Now Sergey is the happiest person on Earth,” said Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager. “Finally, he met his son. Finally, he has three belts but he is not done yet. He is looking forward for more sons and more belts.”
But on Monday morning, before catching a late flight back home to his family, Kovalev traveled to Connecticut for a visit with Magomed Abdusalamov, who suffered brain trauma as well as a broken jaw as the result of a brutal beating by Mike Perez over 10 rounds last November at Madison Square Garden.
Kovalev auctioned off memorabilia from his second-round knockout of Blake Caparello in August on eBay, then donated the proceeds to help the Abdusalamov family with its medical bills.
“I am with my family now for the very first time. I didn’t know at the beginning of the year that I would get three belts by the end of the year. I would have been happy with the two and I am so happy I got three belts.”
Note: Quotes from a release
One of Hopkins’ record 20 defenses at 160 pounds was against Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson, a former titleholder whom Hopkins knocked out in April 1997.
Jackson served as an assistant to Hopkins’ trainer, Naazim Richardson, for four years through 2010 and had been criticized by Hopkins prior to the bout.
After the fight, however, Hopkins praised Jackson as a man who will “be a Hall of Fame trainer,” also calling him “a student of the game.”
Hopkins turns 50 in January but dismissed his age as a factor in the loss, saying, in part, “That’s taking away from [Kovalev]. I don’t want to do that.”
Jackson disagreed to a point.
“Father Time kind of caught up with Bernard tonight also. You have to say that. I mean, 10 years ago, it might have been a different fight but it went in our favor,” said Jackson.
“The things that he did were the things that he needed to do in order to beat Bernard. That worked for us the way that we planned. What makes Sergey different from most other young fighters is that he never got frazzled and when he couldn’t knock Bernard out, he never got upset.”
Jackson acknowledged his experience as an assistant to Richardson paid off against Hopkins.
“It did because I’ve known Bernard since 1990. It made my job easier knowing him,and knowing that what he could do back in 1993, he couldn’t do that in 2014. You can see that the timing wasn’t there and when he got hit on the shoulders, he was falling off balance. That’s just time,” said Jackson.
“It’s no knock against him because he’s still a great fighter and he went 12 rounds with a guy like Sergey. In the 12th round, he took a lot of shots and he got rocked a couple of times and never went down. So you’ve got to give him kudos for that but to answer your question, yes, the experience that I had allowed me to create a game plan for this guy and Sergey fought it to perfection.”