By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS)— He continues to defy odds, age, logic, gravity and any other conceivable tenet that says a man nearly a half century old can’t do the things Bernard Hopkins is doing.
Hopkins calls himself “The Alien,” and he just might be, especially if he pulls off another stunner and defeats the undefeated Sergey Kovalev when the two meet in one of the best fights of 2014, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on November 8 on HBO.
Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 knockouts) will be defending the WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles, while Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) is the WBO light heavyweight champ and has stopped his last nine opponents within the distance. Throughout his career, Kovalev has gone the distance only twice. The longest he’s ever fought was an eight-round split decision win over journeyman Darnell Boone in October 2010.
But he’s never been in with anyone the caliber of the 49-year-old Hopkins, the living legend who is the oldest fighter in boxing history to hold a major title.
“My whole career has been based on people telling me I can’t do this or I can’t do that,” Hopkins said. “Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, but he’s never been in the ring with anyone like me. I’m an alien. I’m someone from a different world that’s done things no one else has.
“I don’t like going back to my past, though. I love proving people wrong. It’s one my favorite things to actually do. But I want people to look at who I am now, today, not the fighter I was when I beat Felix Trinidad and Kelly Pavlik, and Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones. I want people and fans to see me as I am today.”
And that’s the truly amazing part of it is Hopkins’ 26-year career spans almost as long as the 31-year-old Kovalev himself.
“Kovalev does pose a challenge that any younger guy with a big punch would pose,” Hopkins said. “He has great power. His trainer, John David Jackson, thinks he knows me. He knows me so much that I knocked him out in seven rounds [in 1997]. We worked together for a while, and they think they know my weaknesses. They might know the blueprint who I am, but they still have to face me and beat me.”
Hopkins was left speechless, for once, when asked who the majority of people would like to see win the fight. “I think they want to see me win,” Hopkins said. “I have a movement out there because of my age who want to see me win. It is different. Ten-plus years ago, not a lot of people wanted to see me win. I was written off so many times in my career, the pallbearers and shovels and everything was prepared to send me to the good Lord and no one was in the casket. That perception has changed.”
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