Sergey Kovalev punished 49-year-old ring legend Bernard Hopkins over 12 rounds on Saturday, unifying three light heavyweight world titles with a lopsided unanimous decision. Hopkins, the ageless “alien,” was brought to earth with a thud when Kovalev knocked him down in the first round.
The hard-hitting Russian powered on from there, never troubled as he added Hopkins’ World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles to his own World Boxing Organisation belt. Two judges scored the bout 120-107 for Kovalev, while a third saw it 120-106 for the 31-year-old Russian, who had never been past the eighth round in 26 prior fights.
Kovalev improved to 26-0 with one drawn and 23 knockouts. Hopkins, who will turn 50 in January, fell to 55-7-2, enduring the most lopsided decision of his career.
“The better man was Kovalev,” Hopkins said. “He fought a great technical fight. He used his reach and he used his distance and that was the key. I was engaging, I knew if I could get a good shot in I could turn things around. He stuck to his game plan and he’s going to be around for a long time. I’ve got respect for a guy that comes to fight and wants to fight everybody."