The End of a Legend
By Michael Feinberg and Steven Rothman
PHOTO by Ed Diller for ESPN
On November 8, 2014, the world lost a boxing legend. No, his life did not end.
However, his career did. Fighting against all the laws of Mother Nature & Father Time, Bernard Hopkins attempted to do the unthinkable. B-Hop put his WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight Championship Belts on the line in a 12-Round Unification Bout with WBO Champion Sergey Kovalev. At 49 years old, Hopkins was simply a shell of his former self in the ring. Without question, age has finally caught up with him.
During Round 1, in a fight which aired live on HBO at Atlantic City’s Barclay Center, Hopkins landed only 3 clean shots and was dropped late in the round. The knockdown was due in part to B-Hop attempting to be very mobile, but instead looking more jumpy. Hopkins “bounced” off the ropes and directly into the waiting right hand of Kovalev, who was moving straight ahead.
Although Hopkins showed a pulse during some phases of the fight, he didn’t land any spectacular punches, as Kovalev dominated from the outset. There were lulls in action during the bout which were met with “boos” from the crowd. Full minutes were going by without a single landed shot several times throughout the bout.
During Round 10, Hopkins landed a phenomenal right hand, followed up with a straight left a few seconds later. However, it wasn’t enough to earn him even that round, as Kovalev responded with some stellar shots of his own. In Rounds 8 and 12, “The Krusher” landed some crushing shots that sent “The Alien” reeling and seriously wobbled his legs. B-Hop maintained his balance, though, as Kovalev didn’t follow up, simply because he was cautious of Hopkins’ ability to respond.
In the end, Kovalev earned a unanimous, shoutout decision, even receiving a 10-8 round outside of Round 1 from one of the judges. When it was all said and done, Kovalev landed 166 punches out of his 585 thrown, with 121 being power shots. Hopkins, on the other hand, landed 65 out of 195, with only 40 power punches.
Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2) (32 KOs) was simply outclassed and outgunned by a much younger, hungrier, faster, and more fit fighter in Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1) (23 KOs). After the fight, Hopkins is quoted as saying that his future is “50/50” regarding whether or not he will ever lace up the gloves again.
This reporter already knows that there will be no “last fight” beyond last night, with the exception of a possible exhibition match against another over-the-hill big-name fighter. The reason behind this would simply be for B-Hop to say that he was able to fight professionally into his 50s – a feat that has never before happened in the history of the sport.
The judges had it for Kovalev 120-107, 120-107 and 120-106. THEFIGHTINGNEWS.COM also had it 120-107 for Kovalev.