By Jackie Kallen
What a night of boxing in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
Eighty rounds of boxing on one card. Unlikely, but if every fight went the distance, that’s a hell of long time to sit at Boardwalk Hall. Only the true diehard fans will be there from the opening bell of the first fight to the final bell of the last.
The main event, of course, is the amazing Bernard Hopkins. Two months shy of his 50th birthday, he is embarking on a 12-round title fight for the WBO, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight belts. After 63 fights, the man is still throwing leather and taking on all comers.
The man standing before him this weekend will be 25-0 Sergey Kovalev. The Russian, who is more than 18 years younger than Hopkins, will be hoping that he is the man to retire the legend and make a name for himself. He certainly has proven that he has the power to take out most men in his weight class, which is why guys like Adonis Stevenson aren’t lining up to fight him.
Hopkins, however, fears no one and has always faced the top opposition. He surely knows that this fight is a risky one. Kovalev has never tasted defeat. Hopkins has been beaten 6 times in his career. But Hopkins has never been knocked out and has always been clever enough to out-box even the toughest punchers. He is apparently viewing Kovalev as just another opponent.
Fans of Kovalev, who now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, believe it is their man’s time to shine. Kovalev knows that Hopkins will basically be fighting in his own backyard, but he seems undaunted by that. Knowing that he himself has the power advantage as well and the age advantage, is a confidence-builder.
For years now, Hopkins has beaten the odds. When critics claim that he is too old, too tired, no longer has the hunger, or has diminished skills–he surprises them. Whether or not he can go to the well one more time remains to be seen.
On the undercard, undefeated 18-0 heavyweight Vyacheslav Glazkov will face journeyman Darnell Wilson. A stablemate of Kovalev’s, Glazkov also lives in Ft. Lauderdale, (he hails from Lugansk, Ukraine.) Earlier this year, he scored a UD against Tomasz Adamek. This was impressive considering that Adamek’s only other loss was to then WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in 2011.
Also on the undercard, 36-1 welterweight Luis Carlos Abregu will face undefeated (20-0) Sadam Ali. Abregu’s only loss was to Timothy Bradley over four years ago. He sees this win as a major step forward if he gets past Ali. Being a heavy-handed hitter, he ends most of his fights by KO. Ali was knocked down last year by light-hitting Jay Krup. Although Ali won the fight by UD, it had people questioning his chin. If he does have one, a weak chin will be easily revealed by Abregu.
Despite the number of bouts on the card, everyone will be anxiously awaiting the Hopkins fight. He has become a marvel, an inspiration, and a force of nature. Some people want to see him continue fighting until he can no longer stand up. Others hope he’ll stop while he still has his brain intact.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is still compelling to see a man his age, in his impressive condition, step into the ring with the young Turks of the sport.
Kudos to you, B-Hop.