By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY – Lou DiBella knows better than to count out Bernard Hopkins, but Blake Caparello’s promoter left Revel’s Ovation Hall on Saturday night extremely impressed with Sergey Kovalev’s power.
Russia’s Kovalev overcame a flash knockdown in the first round to drop Caparello three times in the second round on his way to a second-round knockout in the second of three bouts broadcast by HBO. Kovalev’s technical knockout victory secured a November showdown with the 49-year-old Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC), who watched the Kovalev-Caparello fight from a ringside seat Saturday night.
“I still think that a great boxer like Hopkins has a pretty good chance, but [Kovalev is] a devastating puncher,” DiBella said. “Blake’s not the kind of guy who folds like a cheap suit. That body shot just killed him. Kovalev’s got dynamite in his gloves. You’ve got maybe the best defensive fighter between middleweight and light heavyweight [Hopkins] … and Kovalev’s got incredible one-punch power.”
A sneaky, well-placed right hand to the body by Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) dropped Caparello (19-1-1, 6 KOs) early in the second round. A game Caparello answered referee Sparkle Lee’s count, but Kovalev pounced on him and landed a straight right hand that knocked Caparello into the ropes, which counted as another knockdown.
Australia’s Caparello got up again, only to have Kovalev unload a barrage of power punches that sent Caparello through the ropes for a third knockdown that caused Lee to stop the bout at 1:47 of the second round.
“That body shot was like a Roy Jones body shot,” DiBella said. “It was devastating.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.