Hopkins-Kovalev Is Must-See TV

Sports and Bets — November 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm by

I know we don’t talk much boxing here at the Wire, and when we do it’s usually to report the latest case of Floyd Mayweather acting like a world-class dickhead. But tonight at 10:45 on HBO, there’s one helluva fight on the docket. American vs. Russian. Experience vs. Youth. Ring Technician vs. Knockout Machine. It’s Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) vs. Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) in a light heavyweight unification bout at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Hopkins is 49 years old and will turn 50 on January 15, yet he’s still fighting at an absurdly high level. Hopkins is the oldest fighter to ever win a title, defend a title, and unify titles. What he’s been doing in the ring at his age is phenomenal, and he’s still tremendous when it comes to shit talking. He told Dan Rafael, “Come [Saturday] on HBO, you get to watch artwork. You’re watching Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong with gloves on.”

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Standing in Hopkins’ way of continuing to make history is 31-year-old knockout artist, Sergey Kovalev. Kovalev has been running through the light heavyweight division, winning his last nine fights via knockouts. His draw came back in 2011 due to an accidental foul in the second round. It will be interesting to see how Kovalev performs if the fight goes into the championship rounds. Kovalev has never gone more than eight rounds in a fight in his career. Kovalev is a beast, but Hopkins will be by far be his toughest challenge yet.

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This fight features two boxers that couldn’t be more different when it comes to their styles. Hopkins is a defensive mastermind, while Kovalev is all offense all the time. Kovalev relies on his devastating punching power, while Hopkins uses his ringsmanship to rack up victories. Hopkins hasn’t recorded a knockout since dropping Oscar De La Hoya in 2004. “According to CompuBox statistics, over Hopkins’s last 13 fights, his opponents have thrown an average of 41 punches per round and landed 10. Those numbers are significantly lower than the light heavyweight division averages of 53 thrown and 17 landed” (Raskin).

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ESPN conducted a media poll to pick who would win the fight and Hopkins edged Kovalev, 12-11. That should tell you all that you need to know about how much of a toss-up this fight is. Will Hopkins’ defense, speed, and experience propel him to a decision win? Or, will Kovalev’s strength be too much for Hopkins to handle, leading to Hopkins’ first knockout defeat of his career? This isn’t a stone cold lock, but I gotta go with The Alien at a juicy +210. I think Hopkins has enough left in the tank to ward off Father Time for another day. Enjoy the fight, babes.

cover pic: ESPN

Alien gif: Highlight Hub

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