Photo credit: thesweetscience.com
MANILA – According to former WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly, things will not end well for Bernard Hopkins on November 8th.
The man formerly known as “The Executioner” has managed to achieve a feat that no one in the grueling sport of boxing has ever achieved – become a world champion at age 49, and look good while doing it.
He not only holds an astonishing 55-6 record (with 32 wins by knockout), but he has barreled through the toughest opposition placed in front of him. His remarkable bouts against Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, and Roy Jones are only few of the many names Hopkins has gone up against throughout a storied 26-year career.
Clearly, “The Alien” deserves all the accolades he is currently enjoying, and it looks like his run is still far from ending. But for Nathan Cleverly, the Bernard Hopkins train will be coming to a halt on November 8th, when he faces Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev.
“I think Hopkins will go on until this next fight against Kovalev - and then that will be his last fight,” Cleverly told ESPN.co.uk. “I think Hopkins sees something in Kovalev that makes him fancy it and thinks he can win, but I just can't see it happening for him.”
The boxer whom they refer to as “Krusher” currently banners an unblemished 25-0-1 slate, with 23 of those victories ending by knockout. To make matters more noteworthy, one of those Kovalev knockout wins led to the death of a then young prospect Roman Simakov, who succumbed from brain injuries days after the fight.
Like the veteran that he is, Hopkins is fully aware of the danger that lies ahead. Working with a world-class trainer like Nazim Richardson can only work wonders. But for Cleverly, who has had the opportunity to face Kovalev, the contrast in styles may spell a big difference.
“Hopkins would always struggle against speed and agility and against guys who put it on him, making him work,” said Cleverly. “My type of style would have caused Hopkins a lot of problems because he might be very technical, but he doesn't go through the gears as such.”