Freak of nature Bernard Hopkins passed the baton on to a new champion and potential legend of the sport in Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night, but can hold his head up high after lasting the full twelve with the big hitting Russian.
At 49 years of age, Philadelphian Hopkins had defied father time for well over a decade to reign supreme at 175lbs – following his amazing feats in a ten-year spell as middlweight king between 1995 and 2005.
Despite being put on the canvas in the very first round against knockout artist Kovalev, ‘The Alien’ managed to hang in there using his vast ring knowledge, although was ultimately no match for a stronger and hungrier fighter at the Boardwalk Hall.
In defeat, Hopkins became the first of Kovalev’s opponents to go past eight rounds as the judges came back with correct scores of 120-106 and 120-107 twice to hand the WBA and IBF light-heavyweight titles to the current WBO champion.
Hopkins now has to consider whether to fight on past his 50th birthday having been completely dominated for the first time in his career, whilst Kovalev is rightly recognised as the best in the division and may look to add Adonis Stevenson’s WBC belt next time around.
Also on the Atlantic City bill, undefeated Sadam Ali pushed on towards a world title shot in 2015 by stopping Luis Carlos Abregu in nine rounds as Nadjib Mohammedi, Eric Hunter, Vyacheslav Glazkov and Sullivan Barrera all scored stoppages.
Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay for tweets of upcoming news on WBN