By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s not a whole lot to be pleased about when it comes to team sports these days in Philadelphia. The Phillies are floundering. The Sixers are tanking for the future. The Flyers are restructuring and the Eagles are an unknown—good enough to win the putrid NFC East, but beyond, who knows?
There has been one constant for over a decade Philly fans can rely on at an individual level with pride and that’s been future Hall of Famer and all-time great Bernard Hopkins.
He’ll turn 50 on January 15, 2015 and he’s toying with the young bucks again. This time, Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 knockouts) is taking aim at another killer—Sergey Kovalev. There was thought that Hopkins would meet lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, but that plan was scratched in favor of WBO light heavyweight titlist Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs), who’s stopped his last eight opponents and is considered the hardest puncher in boxing today.
Facing a power machine is nothing new to Hopkins and he knows all the doubt that’s going to come at him. Hopkins has earned the right to scoff. Whatever the future Hall of Famer says often times comes to fruition. It’s been an incessant pattern of reduced expectations that he’s not only exceeded, but exceeded spectacularly (see Hopkins-Felix Trinidad; Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik; Hopkins-Antonio Tarver …).
Kovalev will have to beat undefeated Australian Blake Caparello, on August 2 at Revel Resort, in Atlantic City. But the way Kovalev has been devouring opponents, that seems to be a given.
After Kovalev finishes what he’s supposed to do, Hopkins will be waiting in the wings. Golden Boy, which promotes Hopkins, has been in negotiations with Main Events president Kathy Duva.
The goal is for the fight to take place Saturday, Nov. 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The 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, along with Philly’s Danny Garcia, give the city two champions. “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 the fans.
You have the old-school Hopkins, with his slippery tactics, pitted against the granite-fisted Kovalev, who is a seek-and-destroy fighter. But disbelief will follow the “Old Man.”
“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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