Kovalev has a title defense coming up next month against unbeaten Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) on August 2nd at the Revel Resort, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. This fight is expected to be a mismatch though with Kovalev likely knocking Caparello out within 6 one-sided rounds.
Hopkins says that Golden Boy promotions president Oscar De La Hoya is in talks with Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva in putting the fight together between him and Kovalev.
“Kathy is talking to Golden Boy, and Oscar is interested in this fight, too. I’m still promoted by Golden Boy, they’re my promoter and we would like to see this fight happen,” Hopkins said to RingTV.com. “The goal is to beat Kovalev and then go after Stevenson after I turn 50. So I want to make more history.”
Hopkins went onto talk about how he previously beat another knockout artist who had been seen as invincible in Kelly Pavlik in Hopkins’ 12 round unanimous decision over him in 2008. That was six years ago against a much different fighter than Kovalev. What Hopkins accomplished in that fight has little bearing with what he would be trying to do against a bigger puncher like Kovalev, who comes forward constantly and is willing to trade shots.
Hopkins will be turning 50 in January, and he’s a lot easier to hit now than he ever has been in the past. For Hopkins to beat Kovalev, he’ll have need to absorb 12 rounds of getting hit by him for him to get the victory, because it’s not realistic to assume that Hopkins is going to score a knockout over Kovalev given that the last time he was knocked anyone out was way back in 2004 when he stopped De La Hoya.
In Hopkins’ last fight, he defeated WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov by a 12 round split decision in April of last year. Hopkins did a good job of avoiding Shumenov’s wild swings, but he wasn’t facing anyone near as good as Kovalev. Shumenov just stood in front of Hopkins for much of the fight waiting and waiting for the perfect moment to throw a pot shot. Obviously it was a foolish way to try and beat Hopkins, because there was no way on earth that someone is going to beat Hopkins by throwing pot shots from a mile away.
In Hopkins’ fight before that, he defeated Karo Murat by a 12 round decision last year in October. Hopkins got hit a lot by Murat, who crowded him constantly in throwing bombs. Murat didn’t have the power or the size to get the job done. He was more of a super middleweight fighting a light heavyweight but without the power of a light heavyweight.
If the Hopkins-Kovalev fight does get made, I expect Hopkins to make Kovalev look bad at times in landing his single counter shots, but if Kovalev pours all over him in throwing big power shots, it’s going to be tough for Hopkins to win that kind of fight a because he’s going to be getting hit with some mammoth shots. Hopkins will likely stay totally defensive in the first half of the fight, and then try and take Kovalev into the deep waters to wear him down and possibly win a decision or get a rare knockout.
I don’t know that Hopkins will be able to win a decision that way because even if he doesn’t get knocked out, he’s going to lose way too many rounds in the first half of the fight for him to have a chance of winning a decision unless we see some wild scoring by the judges that end up working the fight.
In judging what Hopkins has left in the tank, you really have to look at what he did in his last fight against a quality opponent. The last time that Hopkins fought someone good was in 2012 when he lost to Chad Dawson. That was really a one-sided fight with Dawson easily winning and making Hopkins look old.
Since then, Hopkins has beaten the following fighters: Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat and Beibut Shumenov. These are not great fighters. I think what we’re going to discover is that Hopkins is basically the same fighter he was when he lost to Dawson, but perhaps not even that good now. When he gets in the ring with Kovalev, I see it as mismatch with Kovalev exposing Hopkins’ age and showing that he’s still same guy that Dawson easily beat.