BERNARD HOPKINS may be 49 years old but he has unified the WBA and IBF light-heavyweight titles and on November 8 engages WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in a fascinating clash at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
While Hopkins may be one of the most cunning operators in the sport, Kovalev is one boxing’s most feared punchers. The Russian’s trainer, John David Jackson told Boxing News how Kovalev would approach a fight with Hopkins. “Sergey’s fighting an old man. He’s got to treat him like an old man. He can’t give him the respect that most guys give him. Sergey couldn’t care less about how old Bernard is. ‘It’s just my job to him. If I can hurt him, I can hurt him – that’s my job,’” said Jackson, who knows Hopkins well – he fought him in 1997.
“It’s like when [Kovalev] fought Nathan [Cleverly]. Hit him in his arms, hit him in the shoulders, hit him in his body, hit him wherever you can hit him. An old body can’t take that kind of punishment. A young body isn’t meant to take that kind of punishment. Think how an older body’s going to take it – not well. That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to apply that pressure and make that old man work. You’ve got to treat him as what he is. He’s an old fighter, you’ve got to treat him as an old fighter. You can’t give him respect, you can’t just let him do what he wants to do. You’ve got to make him work three minutes of every round. The body’s not built for that, especially at his age. He’s never fought three minutes of every round.
“He is going to prove that he is the best at 175lbs.”