Sergey Kovalev’s knockout of Blake Caparello means his highly anticipated unification fight with Bernard Hopkins will come to fruition after all. Kovalev had to retain his world title in order for the fight to happen and with that box successfully ticked, one of the biggest fights of the year will now take place.
Against the Australian Caparello, Kovalev felt the extra pressure of what was on the line and started off a bit shaky but quickly got into the groove, knocking out Caparello in the second round. Kovalev now moves to 25-0-1 with 23 KOs and will start preparing for the fight of his life.
The fight that will unify three belts will take place somewhere in New York in November. The almost 50 year old Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), who now refers to himself as The Alien, currently holds the WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight titles while Kovalev has possession of the WBO title.
The biggest factor in the fight will be the almost 20 years that Hopkins has on Kovalev. Physically, they are very similar. The Russian boxer known as Krusher is 6 feet and has a reach of 72.5 inches. At 6”1, Hopkins’ reach of 75 inches isn’t enough of a difference to give him a significant advantage.
What Hopkins undoubtedly has going for him is experience. He began fighting in 1998 and since then has fought the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Jermain Taylor, and Joe Calzaghe.
Kovalev only began fighting in 2009, and even though he has never lost a fight, he hasn’t fought opponents with the same pedigree as Hopkins’ challengers.
Hopkins lost to Chad Dawson in 2012, but he has since rebounded by winning his last three fights. These were against Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat, and Beibut Shumenov. All three of these fighters are around the same age as Kovalev, so despite him almost being 50 years old, Hopkins’ still got it.
Just like the last three, Kovalev will have to fight off the urge to be intimidated by the aura of Hopkins and fight the boxer that Hopkins has become rather than the legend. Dawson and Calzaghe had success against Hopkins because they stripped away all of the hype and hyperbole and just focused on the person in the ring with them.
What happens in this fight remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that it will be a fantastic spectacle where history will be made.