Joseph Santoliquito

Bernard Hopkins aims for November showdown with Sergey Kovalev

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – No one doubts him anymore. Bernard Hopkins has earned that right. Whatever the future Hall of Famer says often comes to fruition.

The most consistent component throughout much of Hopkins’ career was doubt, but it’s been gradually reduced over time as he he’s not only exceeded expectations time and again, but exceeded them spectacularly (see Hopkins-Felix Trinidad; Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik; Hopkins-Antonio Tarver, etc.). 

Now Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 knockouts) is talking, stalking – and aiming – toward another killer: Sergey Kovalev. There was speculation that Hopkins would meet lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, but now that plan has changed to WBO light heavyweight titlist Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs), who’s stopped his last eight opponents and is believed to be one of the, pound-for-pound, hardest punchers in boxing today. 

Kovalev will first have to get by a speed bump, Blake Caparello, an undefeated Australian, on Aug. 2 at Revel Resort, in Atlantic City. N.J. But the way Kovalev has been devouring opponents, that seems to be a given. 

After Kovalev finishes what he’s supposed to do, Hopkins hopes he’ll be waiting in the wings. Golden Bo Promotions, which promotes Hopkins, has been in negotiations with Main Events president Kathy Duva. 

The business goal is for the fight to take place on Nov. 8 on HBO at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Hopkins said. 

The personal aim for Hopkins is to continue building on his legacy and making more history. 

“How many fighters have been undisputed world champions in a 15-year span?” said Hopkins, who will turn 50 on Jan. 15, 2015. “Until the judges say something or I’m lying on my back, I’ll never give up. I hear about the age thing and to me that doesn’t matter. This is not a done deal yet, but Kathy is talking to Golden Boy, and Oscar [De La Hoya, Golden Boy’s President] 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.” 

So would fight fans. 

It presents a melding contrast in styles. The old guard, old-school Hopkins, with his guile and slippery countering style, pitted against the come-forward, granite-fisted Kovalev, who is seek-and-destroy. If anyone continues to harbor any doubts about the “Old man,” they should think again. 

“It’s nothing new,” Hopkins said. “That’s followed me throughout my career, from the time I beat Trinidad, a fight no one thought I could win, to when I beat Kelly Pavlik, another fight no one thought I could win. Right now, Kovalev-Hopkins is a fight I think a lot of fans would like to see. The best fight out there at light heavyweight is Kovalev-Hopkins. The goal is to beat Kovalev and then go after Stevenson after I turn 50. So I want to make more history.”

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