Proud new dad Sergey Kovalev isn’t in the mood for any niceties after vowing to ‘kick ass’ when he faces Bernard Hopkins this weekend.
The pair clash in what is one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the year, with both men putting their world titles on the line when they lock horns in an historic battle at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this Saturday night, live on BoxNation.
Despite having become a father for the first time, the feared Russian knockout artist has not softened from his characteristic steely disposition and has stated he is prepared to win the fight with Philadelphian Hopkins in any way possible.
“This is a huge fight for me and this is the fight of my life. It’s a very important fight. I’m focused on this. Yes, my baby was just born and I remember this, and my son has pushed me more and is a big motivation for me. Now I understand who I’m doing everything in my career for. I’m doing it now not for me. I’m doing this for my family,” said Kovalev.
“I go into the ring and I get my victory at any cost. If I need to fight, I will fight. If I need to box, I’m going to box. This is a fight. You can keep in your mind one strategy but these fighters can change.
“I don’t have any strategy for the fight, just to go into the ring and fight like a street fight. I’m going to kick his ass because he’s my opponent. Any of my opponents want to beat me. If I’m not going to beat him he will beat me,” he said.
The reigning WBO light-heavyweight champion has made it clear that he is even prepared to push the boundaries if need be.
“Anyway I need to get a victory, dirty fight or clean fight, for me it doesn’t matter. I will fight dirty, if Hopkins will fight dirty,” he said.
“I’m going to fight a clean fight, but who knows what will happen November 8th. It will be interesting, very interesting. I can’t imagine what will happen,” Kovalev said.
The journey to this point in his career has been a long and arduous one for the big-hitting Kovalev, who has scored 23 knockouts in his 25 wins.
Having moved over to the USA to fulfil a childhood ambition of establishing himself among the elite of the sport, the 31-year-old Kovalev’s road to stardom wasn’t easy.
“You never know what will be tomorrow, but if you believe in it, it can happen, if you trust and believe in yourself and you have a goal and you’re working to this goal, then yes, this can happen,” said Kovalev, speaking on his rise to the top.
“When we fought three, four years ago with Egis [Kovalev’s manager], and we were travelling all over the country in America and fighting anyone who was ready, I didn’t think that this fight would be possible.
“But I believed that I can to do it, and I tried to do it, and some very big thanks to my promoter, Kathy Duva and to Egis that they, from their conversations led me to sign a contract with the promoter – that is when my fight began.
“I waited a long time at this level and waited for this fight, a huge fight. When I was a child I had a dream, when I watched TV I dreamed. I wanted to be there and now I’m here. Everything from your head and everything from your heart, if you want it, you can do it,” Kovalev explained.
One secret weapon that Kovalev has in his armoury going into this fight is trainer John David Jackson, who was in camp with Hopkins for four years under the tutelage of the WBA and IBF champion’s trainer Naazim Richardson.
Kovalev, however, is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of the bout.
“The most important thing for the team and for me is just to keep going systematically, and keep disciplined, and keep working. What John David Jackson said is that it’s a secret between me and him, he has the keys to my victory.
“I understand that everybody wants to hear what happened in my training camp with John David Jackson, but everything you will see on November 8th in Atlantic City,” Kovalev said.
Hopkins v Kovalev is live on BoxNation (Sky437/490HD, Virgin 546 & TalkTalk 525) this Saturday night. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.
Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins insists the reason he chose to fight feared knockout artist Sergey Kovalev is because he only wants to take on the very best.
The reigning WBA and IBF light-heavyweight world champion faces the Russian ace and current WBO champion Kovalev in a mouth-watering unification clash this weekend, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Taking place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, the Philadelphian veteran, who is remarkably just two months shy of his 50th birthday, says he is from an era where the best fight the best.
“I want the best. Hagler fought the best. Ray Leonard fought the best. The Alis of the world, they fought the best. I’m from the era where I fought the best and that’s important to me,” said Hopkins.
“I’ve been in the game for almost three decades. I look for more of what a guy brings to a gunfight other than bullets. The sweet science is not based on only one thing you can do particularly well.
“There’s no fighter I wouldn’t put my record up against in this era, in any class. I put the work in to have the track record and be taken seriously. Come November 8 you get to watch artwork. You’re watching Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong with gloves on,” he said.
But the unbeaten Kovalev has been dubbed ‘Krusher’ for a reason having amassed a formidable 23 knockouts from his 25 wins.
The future Hall of Fame fighter Hopkins, however, is well aware of the threat that Kovalev possesses and has called on observers, who are tipping Kovalev to win, to not go back on their words after the fight.
“I have the same thoughts on Kovalev that most people do. He’s a dangerous puncher, he has an over 90 percent knockout rate and anyone who fights this guy has the opportunity to not be the same,” Hopkins said.
“Kovalev is a threat to anybody. It won’t be an easy fight, even if it looks easy to you. I don’t just have to beat the man, but I have to beat a lot of people. They’re either going to watch me win or watch me lose, and I don’t mind playing that game.
“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in whoever brings the best of themselves and whoever sacrifices will win. We won’t take anything away from this guy because he’s real, but on Nov. 9 we don’t want anyone saying what they aren’t saying now,” he said.
The oldest world champion in boxing history at 49-years-old also believes that there will unlikely be another fighter who is able to defy Father Time as he has, and has urged fans to enjoy him while they can.
“This is nothing to sneeze at, that’s the main thing, but just being able to be around as long as I’ve been and still fresh as a daisy, I believe, and I’ll prove it November 8th, there’s no definition really behind it.
“Just enjoy it, understand it, and realise that you might not be alive to see it again,” Hopkins said.
The 31-year-old Kovalev, who won his first world title by devastating Nathan Cleverly when the clashed last year, is adamant that he is going to do the same demolition job on Hopkins when they get into the ring this Saturday night.
“Bernard talks and fights. I just fight,” said Kovalev “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I go into the ring and I get my victory at any cost. If I need to fight, I will fight. If I need to box, I’m going to box. I don’t have any strategy for the fight, just to go into the ring and fight like a street fight. I’m going to kick his ass because he’s my opponent.
“I always have bullets in my arsenal. My hands are my weapons. It’s my weapon in the ring. Hopkins thinks that I only have two bullets but I will bring some more,” he said.
Hopkins vs. Kovalev is live on BoxNation (Sky437/490HD, Virgin 546 & TalkTalk 525) this Saturday night. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.