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Hopkins ready to rumble

International Sports

Benard Hopkins returns to rumble on Saturday.Benard Hopkins returns to rumble on Saturday.Bernard Hopkins has been here 65 times before. However, Saturday night’s world light heavyweight championship showdown with Sergey Kovalev, the hardest punching 175-pounder on the scene today, is perhaps his most anticipated fight in ten years.

 

 

Not since Hopkins, 55-6-2, 2 NC, 32 KOs, faced Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, has the boxing world been so geared up for a fight involving Bernard Hopkins.

 

“This fight has a lot of politics and a lot of historic things wrapped up around it that I really haven’t had in any fight in a long time,” Hopkins said.

 

On Saturday night, Hopkins and Kovalev, 25-0-1, 23 KOs, will face off at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in an HBO 12-rounder to merge the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. But this fight is about much more than championship belts. This is a match between the two best fighters in the light heavyweight division, and one that very well could pass the torch from one generation to the next.

 

“This man is a threat to anybody,” Hopkins said about Kovalev. “This won’t be an easy fight. He’s a dangerous puncher. He has over 90% knockouts. Anybody that fights this guy has the opportunity to not be the same. That’s real.”

 

On paper, Kovalev looks like he may be the challenge that the 49 year old Hopkins, no matter how battle-tested and brilliant, cannot get past – even with his 26 years of professional ring experience and almost five decades’ worth of life lessons behind him. But then again, we’ve all thought this before, and were just dead wrong.

 

After all, they fight on canvas, not paper.

 

“The question is, ‘how is Kovalev going to react to an alien?'” said Oscar De La Hoya, promoter of the fight and a former Hopkins opponent. “He’s never fought an athlete like Hopkins before. So, the question is, ‘how is he going to react once they hit the 4th, 5th, 6th round?’ It will be very interesting, but obviously we’re with Hopkins 100%.”

 

In the ring, Hopkins has done it all, including shock numerous young champions who thought that the feisty Philadelphian was just too old to compete at the elite level. It was a mistake that even De La Hoya made.

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