by David P. Greisman
Sergey Kovalev was intelligent in the way he fought Bernard Hopkins on Saturday night, smartly using his size and employing a strategy that kept him in control throughout the bout, according to Hopkins.
“I couldn’t overpower him. I just felt like a middleweight in there, maybe a super middleweight in there, against a cruiserweight,” Hopkins said at the post-fight press conference. “I don’t know what it looked like to y’all, but I couldn’t get in the range that I wanted to get into. And the range was the length, whether it was his height, his reach, his stepping back, because he was stepping back when I wanted to engage. And that’s smart, because we are taught not to engage because your opponent want to engage. You fight when you want to fight. You make him fight when you want to fight. And that’s part of the strategy of any seasoned fighter.
“I really couldn’t get inside to do the work that I wanted to do,” Hopkins said. “I had some success, but not a lot. I had some success here and there, but it wasn’t enough to get some early rounds in the bank and get his respect to the point where he got off his game. He never got off his game. There was some excitement at the end, but he controlled it earlier more than I did.”
“He had a really good game plan,” Hopkins had said earlier in the evening, immediately after the bout. “When he got hit with some of my shots, he would sit back and wait, but he used his reach and his distance and that was his key. He has very good mechanics and patience, and because after I hit him he sat back, that would cause me to have to reset. It was hard that he stayed patient. He had a really good game plan. … He also countered his right hand over my jab. I give him a lot of respect.”
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