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On November 8, less than two months from his 50th birthday, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins will face WBO champ Sergey Kovalev in a unification bout. The fact that we're even still talking about Hopkins in these kinds of high-profile fights seems surreal.
Hopkins had already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame more than a decade ago, when he was an undisputed middleweight champion. If he can beat the monstrous Kovalev, he'll be three-quarters of the way to becoming an undisputed light heavyweight champion, with his biggest hurdle passed.
That's a very big "if," though. Kovalev has extremely dangerous punching power. Hopkins' run over the past few years has been completely remarkable, but he's benefited from facing limited boxers like Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud and Beibut Shumenov.
Kovalev has a great amateur background and is a very smart and patient offensive fighter.
I have heard a few fans referring to Hopkins' great win over Kelly Pavlik in October 2008—another bout when many expected Hopkins to get overwhelmed by a much younger star. But that was six years ago, and Pavlik is no Kovalev.
I'm a 40-something gym rat. I want Hopkins to pull this off. But I don't think it's likely.
I expect the last remaining great fighter from my youth to quit on his stool in this one, with Hopkins getting stopped for the first time in his remarkable career.