by David P. Greisman
John David Jackson, trainer of light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, expects to see the same Bernard Hopkins as usual in the early moments of tonight’s bout.
“He’ll come out, be tentative, see what Sergey has early, hoping that from round six on he can overtake the fight and outpoint Sergey,” Jackson told BoxingScene.com the day before the bout. “But he has to deal with the first six rounds. Can he get past those rounds? And if it goes past six, can he summon up enough energy to beat Sergey the last six?”
Kovalev will be smart and pick his shots, Jackson said. Also, while Kovalev has had two bouts end in the seventh and one bout go eight, there aren’t concerns about having the energy to go the distance.
“He’s trained for 12-round fights. We’ve done 12 four-minute rounds sparring, so he’s not really worried about going the distance,” Jackson said. “He has fresh opponents coming in every two rounds. He’s gone 12 with no problem. And Bernard’s not going to fight a hard 12-round fight. That’s not his style. That’s not his way, especially at this stage of his life. He’s not going to do that.
“So if he’s [Hopkins] worrying about this kid going 12 rounds, are you going to exert Sergey to the point where he’s got nothing left in his tank, or are you going to conserve your energy hoping that you can summon up enough energy for that 12-round distance? It’s a two-way street. Bernard has to worry about himself. He hasn’t had a hard fight in about 15 years.”
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