By Sean Crose
“This fight I believe is going to be the most anticipated fight of 2014.” So said promoter Kathy Duva from the podium at the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City Tuesday afternoon. “This,” she added, “is what boxing’s supposed to be.”
She was right. For the reason Duva and others were gathered at the Manhattan landmark was to hold a press conference for what is undoubtedly the most exciting matchup of the year: the light heavyweight title unifier between Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev.
This really is a match fans can appreciate. First of all, it’s a major contest between a deadly puncher and a timeless skill master. There are belts on the line, as well as careers. Even more importantly, no one really knows how it will turn out. No one. The styles of these two men simply makes the entire affair unpredictable.
What’s more, this fight is accessible. Tickets for the bout – which will be held in Atlantic City – will run from fifty to three hundred dollars. That, in case you didn’t know, costs a lot less than traveling to Macau. The fifty dollar seats even cost less than a pay per view broadcast for a Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao bout.
Speaking of pay per view, fans don’t have to open up their wallets for this one, unless they want to cough up less than twenty bucks for HBO. For HBO will broadcast the bout live, free of extra charge. “I am glad because it’s not on HBO pay per view,” co-promoter Oscar De La Hoya claimed. “They (Hopkins and Kovalev) are doing it for the fans.” Whether that statement was true or not, this is certainly an affair for fans to savor.
Indeed, De La Hoya, seemed very happy with the situation. “It is really nice to be back on HBO,” he said, “where I personally have (had) many of my best victories and events.” He also had some good things to say about Hopkins.
“I can tell you from experience,” De La Hoya proclaimed, “he’s good. He’s really good.” That line got a laugh from those who remember Hopkins polishing De La Hoya off with a body blow ages ago. “I really believe this could just be the beginning for Bernard Hopkins,” De La Hoya went on. “I’m now convinced he IS an alien.”
Hopkins may not be an alien, but he’s certainly outspoken. “You wanna fight. You really wanna do it, this is what happens,” he said. “You get it done.” That was clearly a knock on Adonis Stevenson and his adviser/trainer, Al Haymon, who didn’t seem overly interested in fighting either Hopkins or Kovalev when they had the chance.
“I’m beyond boxing,” Hopkins went on to claim, racing towards the direction – frankly – of megalomania. “You’re going to have the most difficult time,” he told the media, “to come up with a title to describe me other than ‘Amazing’,”
Hopkins then went on to speak of his Russian opponent. “You come to a gunfight with one bullet,” he said, referring to Kovalev’s noted punching power, “and I’ve got an Uzi.” He then proceeded, in true Hopkins’ form, to bring up Russian overreach in front of Kovalev, who hails from Russia. “I’m the Ukraine,” Hopkins stated, brazenly bringing up the nation Russia clearly wants to overwhelm in the very near future.
Kovalev, however, seemed unfazed, and perhaps even a bit amused, by Hopkin’s antics. While Hopkins’ ranted, Kovalev could be caught yawning. When Hopkins uttered some unseen insult to Kovalev during the post-conference staredown, Kovalev responded by laughing and waving him off. Clearly, the Russian hitter was not taking Hopkins seriously.
No doubt he’ll save that for when they meet in the ring.