Masterful Kovalev puts in tremendous display to beat legend
Sergey Kovalev put on a
masterful display to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF World
Light-Heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision win over the
It was a breathtaking start as the travelling fighter smashed in
a dipping right hand to the temple to send an off balance Hopkins
to the canvas for an opening round knockdown. The 49-year-old
recovered shook off the effects to see out the round.
Kovalev boxed clever in the second, not bulldozing for the
stoppage as he has done with other less esteemed opponents in the
past but patiently cutting off the angles and picking his shots
against an as yet impotent Hopkins.
The Russian continued his assault in the third, although he was
forced back momentarily by a smart Hopkins counter before resuming
his high pressure approach and finishing the round with a salvo of
Kovalev's aggression was relentless. He opened the fourth with
another heavy right hand, leaving Hopkins to shake his head in
defiance. The Chelyabinsk native scored with more big rights to
widen his increasing advantage on the scorecard.
The reigning WBO champ maintained his measured aggression in the
fifth, fending off Hopkins' one scoring punch mid-round. Kovalev's
dominance was becoming more and more evident, landing more punches
and out-working the legendary Hopkins.
The sixth was a quiet round as Hopkins tucked his chin in neatly
while Kovalev continued to probe away, with little success.
Hopkins enjoyed his most successful round in the seventh as he
caught Kovalev clean, pushing him onto his back foot and halting
his previously relentless progress.
But the 49-year-old's success was short-lived as Sergey Kovalev
landed a tremendous right hand that Hopkins somehow withstood and
stayed on his feet. Kovalev remained patient, still refusing to
chase the stoppage but safe in the knowledge he'd banked yet
It was more of the same in the ninth as Kovalev tempered his
power with patience, his desire to win with respect for one of the
sweet science's finest operators. The Russian found himself in
unchartered territory, fighting in championship rounds for the
first time in his career.
The crowd roared the hometown fighter on in the tenth as he
landed with a right hand and then a left, but Kovalev didn't look
fazed as he soaked up those advances and settled back into his
Hopkins enjoyed some brief glimmers in the final two rounds, but
it was the Sergey Kovalev show in the Boardwalk Hall as the Russian
secured a massive unanimous decision. The scorecards came back
120-107, 120-107, 120-106 in favour of Kovalev, who will now surely
hunt down the WBC title holder Adonis Stevenson and look to become
the undisputed champion of the world?
Can "Krusher" Kovalev send legend Hopkins into retirement?
We're live with a hugely intriguing bout between boxing's oldest
ever world champion Bernard Hopkins, 49, and the unbeaten knockout
machine Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev.
The Philadelphia's-born fighter's record-breaking career speaks
for itself. The future hall of famer is a 65-fight veteran with 55
wins on his slate, including an 11-year run as middleweight world
champion. The remarkable Hopkins made his pro debut in October
1988, when Russian knockout artist Kovalev was just six years
With his April win over Beibut Shumenov, the remarkable Hopkins
shattered another record by becoming the oldest man to unify world
titles, setting up a mouthwatering clash with hard-hitting WBO
title holder Kovalev. Always chasing greatness, the man who turns
50 next January has already stated he wants to become undisputed
champion by beating Kovalev and WBC Champion Adonis Stevenson.
American-based Russian Kovalev, 31, has built a reputation as a
fearsome puncher, winning his last nine bouts early as part of a
25-0 record. The reigning WBO Champ won his title from Britain's
Nathan Cleverly in August last year, and has since defended it
against Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew and Blake Caparillo.
But a defence against the legendary Hopkins is without question
Kovalev's toughest fight during his reign as WBO Champ, so don't
miss this blockbuster live from Atlantic City.