No sooner had Sergey Kovalev predictably wiped the floor with Aussie Blake Caparello than had the predications that aged Hopkins would be stopped this November for the first time in his career had begun.
At 49, Hopkins may well be past his prime. Still, the way the American has adapted his training regime and style in the ring to suit is unquestionable and should be more respected than to predict his demise instantly.
Kovalev can bang with the best of them, that is a stone-cold fact, but has he been in the ring with someone as seasoned and wily as Hopkins in his career? You can answer that question with a resounding ‘no.’
Those who have witnessed Hopkins’ career and been in wonderment of the majority of it will no doubt be in agreement that Kovalev faces the toughest test of his career against a fighter that knows the sport inside out, and especially what it takes to win.
Quick judgments based on the Caparello fight, to be fair, may be taken from the hysteria of yet another early and devastating finish by the heavy-handed ‘Krusher,’ who now has 23 KO’s from 25 wins. You’d have to go back to 2010 to find an opponent who had managed to see the end of a fight with Kovalev, and nobody has ever gone past eight rounds with the WBO light-heavyweight champion.
Even with such an impressive record as that, and considering everything, I would still be confident enough in Hopkins to say that Kovalev will face a much tougher task than ever before if he is to score a knockout against the WBA and IBF title-holder.
Once again, Hopkins is seemingly being judged solely on his age and the fact that he is pushing fifty, but as Beibut Shumenov found out to his cost, having a big punch isn’t necessarily the equalizer is no substitute for experience.
All in all, this pre-agreed unification fight has already captured the public’s imagination if it is now signed and sealed for November on HBO. But for Hopkins to just be competing with the likes of Kovalev is a feat in itself, and it will be interesting to see how the veteran deals with the brute strength of the feared Russian in his attempt to become the first world champion to reign at 50.
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