The Bernard Hopkins Sergey Kovalev fight was easy to predict despite the fact that HBO Commentator Jim Lampley and 12 of 23 sports writers at ringside, chose Hopkins to win the fight. BHOP is completely unusual, although not an alien. To be able to step in the ring at age 49 and compete with someone like Kovalev is simply astounding. However, Kovalev clearly demonstrated that ability and youth will always beat, ability and ring smarts.
As the fight unfolded, what became more and more evident is that Bernard Hopkins was looking for one big shot to turn around the fight. And since he hadn’t scored a Knockout in over 10 years, the likelihood of that happening was remote at best. Hopkins was averaging a mere 18 punches per round which was not going to be enough to win a single round, and certainly not the fight. More importantly what we saw on Saturday night was an unusual 49-year-old man who needed to fight at a slow pace and conserve his energy in order to reach the end of the fight. If round 12 had one more minute, or even 30 seconds, Kovalev might have ended the night for BHOP before the final bell sounded.
For his part, Kovalev did everything he needed to win the fight. He chose his spots and was highly effective when he went after Hopkins. He hurt Hopkins on a number of occasions with that jack hammer right hand. But Hopkins ability to take those shots was amazing. Kovalev demonstrated that not only is he the best fighter in the light heavyweight division physically but he is also the most intelligent. Whereas Hopkins has won all of his recent fights by out smarting his opponents, Kovalev wasn’t falling for it. As Hopkins said to Max Kellerman at the post fight interview, Kovalev fought his fight and that’s why he won. It’s as simple as that.
On a night that saw Hopkins exploited for what his is, a great, old fighter, Hopkins walked away with his health, self-respect and legendary status still in tact.