As undoubtedly the most intriguing fight of the year is upon us and with anticipation growing; Saturday night sees champions Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev square off against each other for the WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight world titles live on HBO from Atlantic City.
This week InstantBoxing.com caught up with its writers for their predictions on the fight. Here is what they had to say:
Reporter/Writer: Albert Baker [@thealbertbaker]
I think the first 5 rounds will be intense if Kovalev doesn’t hurt or knockout Hopkins early. Hopkins will use lateral movement and clinch in an ugly fight in which he dictates the pace. Kovalev is no Calzaghe in terms of punch output and I think it could be a repeat of the Pavlik fight. Bhop wins this fight and becomes an all time great.
Verdict: Hopkins Points.
Writer: Joseph McNally [@joseph_mcnally]
Hopkins seems to genuinely fancy this task but he is playing an awfully risky game. We know that Hopkins can be hurt by lesser punchers than Kovalev (he was put down twice in the first Pascal fight) but even if he does lose, what has he lost? He is expected to be beaten – his record of oldest fighter to hold a recognised title stays in tact and he is still tempered as a legend. However, if he upsets the apple cart and wins he will again be the man in his division, likely holding on to his title/s until his unprecedented 50th birthday.
This is a risky gamble to take for Hopkins, I don’t care if you are 29 or 49, Kovalev can do some serious damage and if he can figure out Hopkins puzzle he can and will go medieval on an old man in public.
This is such a difficult fight to call because it divides your heart versus head feelings but if I was pushed for a prediction on this one I would go with Hopkins via majority decision.
Verdict: Hopkins: Majority Decision
Editor: Gary Mushrow [@garygmushrow]
I think this fight has had me torn one way or another more than any fight I can actually remember in recent times. I must have switched sides from Hopkins to Kovalev and back and forth more than a dozen times. Time to nail my colours to the mast.
It seems every time I bet against Hopkins he seems to reach back one more time and pimp slap father time back into the shadows. Victories against Pavlik, Pascal and even Tarver to an extent during his legendary career have had me eating my moderate servings of humble pie, and I just have a feeling this time I’ll be heading back to the supermarket savoury aisle one more time.
But my head must rule my heart here and I will go with Sergey Kovalev by late stoppage. Regardless of how many tricks, slights and fiddles Bhop can pull in this fight to upset the Russian’s rhythm, I feel the relentless thudding power shots whether caught on the elbows, arms or gloves will eventually take effect and wear the 49 year old down.
Hopkins has never been stopped and has a massive amount of pride; I don’t think he will be stopped on his feet and it will take a massive knock out shot (which I don’t think he will be hit with) or for his trainer Nazeem Richardson to call time on the undoubted first ballot HoFer’s career when he feels his charge has taken enough from the big hitting Russian.
Verdict: Kovalev Mid-Late Stoppage
Writer: Simon Markland, Head of #P4PBoxing [@sala151183]
When this fight was made Hopkins vs Kovalev I first went Kovalev by TKO but now the weeks have passed and I have time to think I now feel Hopkins will pick Kovalev off and win a close fought decision possibly a split.
Verdict: Hopkins Split Decision
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