On Saturday night, the years most hotly anticipated unification fight took place in front of a sell out 8,545 crowd at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in the Light Heavyweight division. This was Bernard Hopkins toughest test and the book makers were quivering with the odds which fluctuated until the first bell as the 49 year old The Alien Hopkins once again went to war to prove he is still at the very top of boxing. Hopkins has never shunned away from any fight and we wasn’t going to duck this fight with Kovalev. With Hopkins always finding a way to win by his famous spoiling tactics, this had the makings of a very competitive fight on paper, but what was witnessed was Sergey Kovalev totally dominating 11 out of 12 rounds.
The Russian took the fight to Hopkins from the offset as he almost towered over his opponent, as he was knocked down by a punch and slipped on the canvas to be given an 8 count, and it quickly became clear from the first round that Hopkins was in for a tough nights work, . Hopkins had not many answers to the younger man’s sheer punching power, his fast combinations, heart and chin. Hopkins was unable to keep his opponent off him as he circled the outside of the ring on the back foot for most of the 12 rounds. As Kovalev began to produce some stunning offensive combinations, Hopkins was unable to answer with anything which would of caught the 3 judges attention, but the crowd was waiting for Hopkins to take the fight back. This was the first time in Hopkins long and very illustrious boxing career that he had no answer at all. At the end of round 11 it was clear that Hopkins was going to have to knock out Kovalev in the last 3 minutes, but what we saw was the younger fighter take it up one more gear and to try to take the incredibly durable 49 year old out to ensure that there was no errors on the scorecards. Kovalev unleashed one final assault as Hopkins took some brutal shots which would of knocked many other fighters clean out, but he somehow stood his ground until the last seconds as the pair finally clashed against the ropes to hear the final bell. There could only of been one winner, and the possible end to one of the greatest fighters in boxing’s career.
The scorecards read 120-107, 120-107 and 120-106 as the new champion was declared. It has certainly been an amazing journey for the new champion and for his promoter Kathy Duva & the team at Main Events They have a fighter who had not only dismantled one of the greatest boxers of possibly the last 2 generations, but who can beat anyone in his division.
Bernard Hopkins was a beaten man, but showed just what an amazing boxer he is at the age of 49. To of taken on this fight and to walk across the apron against one of the hardest hitters in the sport was simply amazing, or ‘mad’ as he described himself in the post fight interview. Whatever happens now, Bernard Hopkins is guaranteed a place in the Boxing Hall of Fame and will always have the utmost respect of every fan of the sweet science.