This Saturday sees the return of the oldest reigning world champion, Bernard Hopkins in what has too be his hardest fight to date – his fight with age.
B-Hop takes on one of the most fearsome hitters in world boxing at any weight, Sergey Kovalev who boasts 23 knockouts, has been knocking light-heavyweights cold in recent years.
To many people (especially me) Hopkins decision to fight Kovalev seemed strange at first; he is a frightening fighter who seems to have been icing people without getting out of second gear, however the longer I’ve thought about it the more sense it makes.
Hopkins, at 49, is not expected to win, but why? The very few fighters who have been able to figure out Hopkins awkward style enough to take a decision over him have been one of two things, either: technically superior or had an exceptionally high work rate. Is it coincidence that Kovalev fits in to neither category? I don’t think so – I think Hopkins sees flaws in Kovalev’s armoury that he believes he can exploit.
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 being the oldest fighter to hold a recognized world 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.