Reports: Hopkins to fight Kovalev in November
AFTER INITIALLY honing in on Adonis Stevenson, Philadelphia boxing legend Bernard Hopkins appears set to instead next fight Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev.
A unification bout between Hopkins, the 49-year-old IBF and WBA light-heavyweight champ, and Kovalev, the WBO titleholder, has been agreed upon for early November on HBO, according to reports yesterday afternoon by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN. SI's Chris Mannix tweeted that the fight will be held in Brooklyn or Atlantic City.
The agreement, according to ESPN, is contingent upon a Kovalev victory tonight. The 31-year-old from Russia defends his title against Australia's Blake Caparello at Revel Casino in Atlantic City in a 12-round bout featured on HBO's "Boxing After Dark."
Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 knockouts) in April became the oldest boxer to unify world titles when he defeated Kazakhstan's Beibut Shumenov by split decision in Washington. Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) last fought in March, knocking out Cedric Agnew in the seventh round at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. None of Kovalev's five 12-round fights entering tonight has lasted longer than seven rounds.
Boxing fans will be rooting for Kovalev to prevail once again tonight, and in turn set up a highly anticipated light-heavyweight battle between the sport's ageless wonder and one of its hardest punchers.
- Jake Kaplan