Sergey Kovalev unified three light-heavyweight titles when he beat Bernard Hopkins on points in Atlantic City on Saturday night. The 31-year-old Russian beat the 49-year-old American 120-107 on two cards and 120-106 on the third and added Hopkins’s WBA and IBF belts to his WBO title.
Hopkins did put up a remarkable performance – for a man who will be 50 years old on January 15. But he was beaten round after round and left the ring with only memories of the good old times.
He was knocked down in the first round, nearly in the eighth and then almost in the final round, and spent most of the time with his back to the ropes and in the corners. But he was not knocked out, which says something for the old warhorse.
Kovalev improved his professional record to 26-0-1, with 23 wins inside the distance. Hopkins won 55 of his 62 fights and lost seven.
"I wanted to show fans that I know how to box and I did," Kovalev said. "I tried to go for the knockout in the 12th round. He has great defense. He's the best boxer in my division, after me. He needs to stop his career and give opportunities to younger guys."