by David P. Greisman
Bernard Hopkins won’t be facing Sergey Kovalev next — first he has his mandatory title defense against challenger Karo Murat — but the 48-year-old future Hall of Famer doesn’t sound at all worried about the light heavyweight power-puncher.
“Tito, Kelly Pavlik, Tarver n Cloud all are the same: flat footed punchers who come forward. Kovalev is no different,” Hopkins wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Tito is Felix Trinidad, the middleweight whom Hopkins dissected en route to a 2001 technical knockout that made Hopkins the undisputed middleweight champion. Pavlik also was easily out-boxed and lost a unanimous decision to Hopkins in 2008. Antonio Tarver lost the light heavyweight championship via unanimous decision to Hopkins in 2006. And Tavoris Cloud lost a unanimous decision to Hopkins this past March.
The win over Cloud gave Hopkins the International Boxing Federation’s world title at 175 pounds and improved his record to 53-6-2 with 32 knockouts and 2 no contests. He will defend that belt on Oct. 26 in Atlantic City against Murat, a soon-to-be 30-year-old with a record of 25-1-1 with 15 knockouts.
Kovalev, meanwhile, just picked up the World Boxing Organization’s belt with a one-sided fourth-round stoppage of Nathan Cleverly this past Saturday. He is 22-0-1 with 20 knockouts.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]