ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Following 11 rounds of utter domination, the only thing left for Sergey Kovalev to accomplish early Sunday morning was to become the first opponent in Bernard Hopkins’ 26-year career to knock him out.

If Kovalev had 10 more seconds at his disposal in Round 12 of their light heavyweight title unification fight at Boardwalk Hall, he might’ve accomplished that feat, too.

The Russian knockout artist instead settled for handing Hopkins the most lopsided loss of his Hall-of-Fame career, a 12-round unanimous-decision defeat so thorough the 49-year-old Hopkins acknowledged afterward that it’s “50-50” whether he’ll fight again. Regardless, as Hopkins’ legendary career nears its conclusion, the most impressive victory of Kovalev’s five-year pro career should thrust him toward stardom.

“He did just what I knew what he would do,” said John David Jackson, Kovalev’s trainer. “Tonight he was the teacher.”

Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 knockouts), who hadn’t boxed beyond eight rounds in any of his first 26 professional fights, easily demonstrated that he was prepared to win championship rounds against the most accomplished, experienced opponent he has faced. All three judges – New Jersey’s Lawrence Layton (120-106), New York’s Carlos Ortiz (120-107) and Rhode Island’s Clark Sammartino (120-107) – credited Kovalev with winning each of the 12 rounds.

Kovalev took Hopkins’ IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles and retained his WBO 175-pound championship. He also won the respect and admiration of boxing experts who wondered whether his record was more the byproduct of his opposition than Kovalev’s skills and power.

“I don’t care how old he is,” Oscar De La Hoya, Hopkins’ promotional partner, said. “To beat somebody like Hopkins, Kovalev did a tremendous job. He executed his game plan perfectly, and that’s not easy to do against a legend like Bernard Hopkins.”

Kovalev, 31, dropped Hopkins with a right hand to the side of his head with a little less than a minute to go in the first round. Hopkins reached his feet quickly and made it to the end of the round, but mostly employed a cautious approach for the rest of the fight. Hopkins opened up in Round 12, but his aggression only encouraged Kovalev to unload an array of power punches that hurt him, left him stumbling all around the ring and pushed the Philadelphia native dangerously close to getting knocked out.

“I’ve just got a great chin,” Hopkins said. “I can take a punch.”

Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs, 2 NCs) took 166 of Kovalev’s 585 overall punches, according to unofficial CompuBox statistics. Kovalev landed 38 punches in Round 12 alone, the most connected on Hopkins in any single round of the 41 Hopkins fights CompuBox has worked.

“He’s 49 years old,” Kovalev said. “To go 12 rounds with me, I was very surprised. … Really big respect to him.”

Hopkins now respects Kovalev’s boxing ability, not just his vaunted power.

“He had a really good game plan,” Hopkins said. “When he got hit with some of my shots, he would step back. But he used his reach and distance and that was the key to his victory tonight. He has very good mechanics and patience. Because after I hit him, he would step back. That would cause me to have to reset. He had a good game plan, I’ll give him that. He’s a good technical fighter. He would counter his right hand over my jab. I give him a lot of respect.”



Credit:  Photo by DON EMMERT / AFP –

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Sergey Kovalev roughed up Bernard Hopkins from the opening bell, winning a unanimous decision early Sunday to stake his claim as the best light heavyweight.

Kovalev has three versions of the 175-pound belt after taking two from the 49-year-old Hopkins in the decisive victory. Kovalev is 26-0-1 with 23 knockouts.

Kovalev received winning scores of 120-107 from two judges and 120-106 from the third. The 31-year-old Russian won the IBF and WBA light heavyweight belts to go with his own WBO title.

Two months shy of 50, Hopkins (55-7-2) could face retirement after a rare title bout where he was never a factor. Kovalev knocked down Hopkins in the first round and never backed off his punishing pace.

Kovalev hadn’t fought past the eighth, but was at his best against Hopkins in the 12th. He wanted the KO and battered Hopkins against the ropes, making the Philadelphia fighter at last look his age.

“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.”

Hopkins felt every single one of Kovalev’s blows in the 12th. And there were plenty of them in that final round. Kovalev landed 38 punches in the final round, the most ever against Hopkins in 41 fights tracked by CompuBox.

The pro-Hopkins crowd chanted “B-Hop!” and “U-S-A!” to rally the veteran driver. It didn’t work.

Kovalev dropped Hopkins with a solid right early in the first round, but the veteran hopped right up. Kovalev smelled blood and became focused on finishing off Hopkins with a knockout.

He pummeled Hopkins in the final 45 seconds of the third round. Kovalev was at his best when he backed Hopkins into a corner and unloaded body shots that left him reeling.

Hopkins just wouldn’t go down for good. He had his best round in the seventh, landing a couple of rights that had little meaning in the long run.

Kovalev answered in the eighth with a hard right that wobbled Hopkins. Kovalev kept it up until the 12th. Respect for Hopkins’ Hall of Fame resume was about the only thing that kept the referee from stopping the fight.

“I give him a lot of respect, we both would fight anyone,” Hopkins said. “That’s how we ended up here tonight. That’s what brought us together.”

But did it bring Hopkins to his professional end?

“I really don’t want to say anything,” Hopkins said. “It’s been 50-50 for the last nine years.”

Hopkins lost his professional debut to Clinton Mitchell at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City in 1988. Kovalev was just 5 years old and living in Chelyabinsk, Russia at the time. Hopkins took 15 months off before fighting again, defeating Greg Paige at Philadelphia’s Blue Horizon, the first of 22 straight victories that wouldn’t end until he lost to Roy Jones Jr. in 1993. The 45-year-old Jones was on HBO’s broadcast team for the fight.

Never a stylistically crowd-pleasing fighter, Hopkins hasn’t knocked out an opponent since Oscar De La Hoya in September 2004.

De La Hoya was at the fight, too. Hopkins is a minority partner with De La Hoya in Golden Boy Promotions.

De La Hoya said after the fight Hopkins will fight again and still has options in a lower weight class.

At 46, Hopkins became the oldest fighter to win a major world championship in 2011 when he defeated Jean Pascal. He dropped the WBC version of the light heavyweight belt to Chad Dawson in 2012, setting him up again to break his own record of oldest fighter to win a championship in 2013 with a unanimous decision victory over Tavoris Cloud.

Hopkins was 48 for that bout. He won his next two bouts to set up the unification fight with Kovalev.

Now, it’s Kovalev’s turn to stand atop the division.


crop_bernardhopkins_1El púgil ruso Sergey Kovalev venció por decisión unánime al veterano estadounidense Bernard Hopkins y unificó los tres títulos del peso semipesado, versión de la AMB, la FIB y la OMB. (AFP / Don Emmert)

Houston – El púgil ruso Sergey Kovalev venció la pasada noche por decisión unánime al veterano estadounidense Bernard Hopkins y unificó los tres títulos del peso semipesado, versión Asociación Mundial de Boxeo (AMB), Federación Internacional (FIB) y la Organización Mundial (OMB).

El combate más esperado del año dentro de la categoría de los pesos superiores sirvió para confirmar el gran momento por el que atraviesa Kovalev, y que sus 18 años más joven también fueron al final el factor que hizo que la balanza cayese de su lado.

La cita fue en Atlantic City y ninguno de los dos defraudó con su entrega y boxeo, aunque fue Kovalev, de 31 años, e invicto, el que impuso siempre su poder de puños, rapidez y mayor fondo físico.

La superioridad de principio a fin de Kovalev quedó reflejada en las tarjetas ofrecidas por los tres jueces que le fueron ampliamente favorables.

Carlos Ortiz Jr. y Clark Sammartino le dieron ganador con cartulinas de 120-107 y Lawrence Layton lo tuvo todavía más claro y puso una puntuación de 120-106 favorable a Kovalev.

El gran triunfo moral para Hopkins, de 49 años, que el próximo enero cumplirá 50, fue que al final, en los 26 años que lleva de profesional, nunca ha perdido por nocáut.

El ruso, sin embargo, conectó temprano una derecha en la cabeza de Hopkins que hizo que éste tocara la lona en el primer asalto y recibiera la cuenta de protección por parte del árbitro de la pelea David Fields.

Pero, una vez más, Hopkins, hizo honor a su condición de luchador incansable, inteligente y mañoso, que le permitió hacer el milagro de concluir los 12 asaltos sin volver a la lona y quedar el combate concluido por la vía rápida y más en una pelea de la categoría de los semipesados y ante un rival de una gran pegada.

Por si lo anterior no hubiese sido ya todo un logró para Hopkins, en el duodécimo asalto, Hopkins quiso vender cara su derrota y se enfrascó en un durísimo intercambio de golpes que pasará a la historia como uno de los más espectaculares que se haya podido ver entre dos púgiles con 18 años de diferencia.

“Es un hombre duro”, declaró Kovalev al concluir la pelea. “Hay que respetarlo, pero ya tiene que parar de pelear. Ha hecho mucho por el boxeo y es hora de que le de paso a los jóvenes que vamos subiendo”.

Kovalev campeón invicto de la OMB (26-0-1, 23 nocáuts), ahora posee también los cinturones de la FIB y de la AMB, que estaban en poder de Hopkins, que los logró a la edad de 48 y 49 años, respectivamente.

Pero Hopkins, que dejó su marca en 55-7-2 y 32 combates ganados por la vía del nocáut, dijo que hasta el final tuvo la posibilidad de haber conseguido la victoria.

“La clave de la victoria estuvo en que mi rival llegó con un gran plan, golpeaba y se iba para atrás, además de tener una gran derecha que la combinó a la perfección”, señaló Hopkins. “Lo que hice en el último asalto fue de loco, pero se lo merecían los aficionados que quieren ver buenas peleas”.

El propio Kovalev, aunque dijo que a Hopkins ya le había llegado la hora de la retirada, también reconoció que es mucho mejor que el actual campeón del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo (CMB), el canadiense Adonis Stevenson, que ha evitado en varias ocasiones enfrentarse al monarca ruso.

Date:  Saturday, November 8, 2014


Location:  Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Promoter:  Golden Boy Promotions (Oscar De La Hoya) / Main Events (Kathy Duva)

Supervisor:   Francisco Valcarcel, Esq.

Referee:  David Fields

Judges:   Larry Layton (120-106);  Carlos Ortiz Jr. (120-107); Clark Sammartino (120-107) 

Results:   WBO Champion Sergey Kovalev retains the WBO Light Heavyweight Title and obtained the IBF/WBA belts against Bernard Hopkins by Unanimous Decision.   The WBA Champion Hopkins down in round 1.



World Boxing Organization (WBO), by president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, announced today the officials who will work this Saturday, November 8, in the fourth title defense of the light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, from Russia, against Bernard Hopkins, from United States, to be held at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States, in a Main Events presentation.

For this fight, when Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) will defend his WBO 175 pounds belt in an unification bout versus the WBA and IBF champion Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), the referee will be David Fields, from New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the judges for the Kovalev-Hopkins will be Carlos Ortiz Jr., from New York, Clark Sammartino, from Rhode Island, and Lawrence Layton, from New Jersey.

The WBO supervisor for this fight will be the President Paco Valcarcel.

Kovalev, selected the WBO Boxing of the Year, won his title on August 17, 2013, with a fourth round TKO win over Nathan Cleverly, and got victories over Ismayl Sillah (KO2), Cedric Agnew (KO7) and Blake Caparello (TKO2) on his tree defenses.

This fight will be broadcasted on HBO at 10:45 p.m. (ET).


Photo by Rich Kane Hogan

It’s fight week, with Bernard Hopkins vs. Sergey Kovalev and Sadam Ali vs. Luis Carlos Abregu taking place this weekend in Atlantic City. The final fighter workouts were held today at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, and right here, you can check out all the photos & quotes.

Credit: Hogan Photos / Golden Boy –

bernard-hopkins-workout-photo-150x150  hopkins-workout2-150x150  hopkins-workout-150x150


“There are so many things I’ve done that the world of boxing has witnessed. It’s going to be difficult for the boxing people to pick one of my performances as the best.

“I’ve done so many unpredictable things and so profoundly. Even the people who want to go against me, are afraid to go against me. They’ve been wrong so many times. A lot of them are just being mum right now. They must feel I can still do things.

“This is a great position to be in. I don’t really believe there is any fighter, in any decade that can be in my position of luxury that I’ve been in for many years.

“Early on in my career I had the kind of anxious where you couldn’t sleep at night. That anxiousness is like a virus we all have in us. Some you can deal with but some will wipe you out.

“The Pavlik fight was the first time I heard the masses put the word knockout attached to my opponent. I’m real keen on what people say. Ninety percent of it might be garbage, but something in there might be the plan. That woke me up and I knew I wanted to destroy.

“The only thing I can do is be right about what I say. Because I know I’m being watched. I understand what I’m facing. All I can do is put the work behind it.

“I didn’t need to take any fight for the last 10 years. But I’ve always fought the best and I’ve always wanted to prove myself to the best.

“I always not only want push the envelope in my career but I also have an itch for going against the grain.

“Enjoy that you can see me now. I would love to see the great Michael Jordan and Julius Erving in their younger days, but they’re gone. Look at me at 50, I’m going to eat right and live right so I can take less punches and look normal.

“This fight isn’t about boxing, it’s something deeper than that.

“I was made to be where I’m at. I just had to go through some challenges, so that I can educate others later.”

sergey-kovalev-workout-gleasons-150x150  kovalev-and-mulvaney-150x150  kovalev-workout-photo-150x150


“Fifty is just a number. I think nothing of his age. If he was old he would be retired, but he’s still in there. He’s not an old man, he’s a young alien.

“I’m really excited for this fight. I will do my job and anything I need to do to win.

“Bernard likes to push everybody, inside the ring or outside. We’re ready to begin. We’re ready to fight. I feel like I’ve been fighting him for two months going to the gym every day.

“I don’t know what will happen November 8 because this is sports, this is boxing. But I will be ready. I will get a chance to be undisputed and I’m ready to do it. That is my goal.

“I need to do what I do and do it very well.

“I can think back and remember everything from early in my career, but I don’t want to do that. It was often very terrible and it was hard to get to this stage and this place.

“I was searching around for any promoter but no one would sign me. I fought for three years for free. In 2013, Kathy Duva signed me and my career has gotten much better. Being on a big fight on TV is what I’ve always wanted.

“Egis Klimas paid for everything when I was starting out, my opponents, my clothes and my food. He invested a lot into me.

“This fight is a great opportunity for me to create my history for me and my family. I will do that. When my son grows up he will be able to look at this and say, ‘that is my father.’ He can see that I did it for him.

“I can’t make any predictions. We will see everything on November 8. It’s boxing, it’s a fight. For me, any fight like this is a street fight, anything can happen.

“I’m going to go in to fight. I’m going to box, I’m going to show that I can fight with the best light heavyweight right now.

“From my side everything will be clean and fair. I don’t know what he will be doing.

“My life has already changed but this fight means everything.”


“Sergey Kovalev is an exceptional puncher. We haven’t seen him hurt guys of extreme quality yet, but we can’t take for granted what we’ve seen against the opposition he’s faced. He’s annihilated these dudes, that’s how he wins fights.

“Kovalev is a monster. He’s a beast. He punches harder than Hercules. But I don’t want people to defang him on Sunday. If Kovalev is all of these things that people say he is and Bernard beats him, you better start that car and drive him straight to Canastota and induct him into the Hall of Fame right now.

“We’re too late in the game to overhaul from training camp to training camp. We train Bernard Hopkins. The rest of the world adjusts to Bernard Hopkins. Each camp we strive to get the best Bernard Hopkins we can.

“We don’t even call it training camp. It’s a lifestyle for Bernard. They’re just dates we all get together.

“It’s genetics. It’s lifestyle. There are many variables that mesh together to make Bernard who he is. We just have to appreciate him while he’s here.

“With a win over Kovalev it separates so that now he should go to the Hall of Fame as ‘The Executioner’ and ‘The Alien.’ A win over Kovalev only adds to ‘The Executioner’ but it would also solidify a Hall of Fame career for the ‘The Alien.'”


“Sergey’s talent is still untapped. He could be a really special fighter. He needs to get past this fight here first and then the sky is the limit for him.

“His punching power is so unreal it makes him hard to deal with.

“I warned Bernard’s camp a few years ago, don’t fight this Kovalev kid. I don’t know what they told Bernard. But I told them please don’t fight this kid.

“This is business at the end of the day. Bernard can talk about me all night long but I don’t have to get in the ring with him.

“Sergey doesn’t understand English that well so it doesn’t matter what Bernard says. There’s mutual respect, but fight week is here so we’ll see what happens.

“Sergey is ready. Bernard is all he talks about. Beating Bernard is the next phase of the plan. If you beat a fighter of that magnitude it takes you to the next level.”



“Luis Carlos Abregu is not someone you should overlook or underestimate. He has power in both hands. He gives you a lot to worry about in the ring because of his tremendous power.

“There is no limit for me. I just want to keep going and going. This is the biggest fight of my career and I just have to be on my A-game.

“I worked on defense a little more than usual in training camp, I think anyone who fights Abregu should. I’ve been training hard and I’m mentally and physically prepared. No weight lifting, but a lot of calisthenics.

“It’s been a long journey to get here. It hasn’t been going as fast as I expected it to but there’s a plan for all of us. This is the biggest fight of my career, I hope there are bigger fights coming but so far it’s the biggest.

“I have a tough opponent and I think a lot of people are underestimating me. I’m the underdog now, which I’m not used to being. I’m putting in the time and the work in the gym and I’m ready.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and I honestly like being looked at as the underdog. I want to be underestimated, that way you’re going to be surprised by what I bring to you.

“I’ve put in the time at the gym so I’m not worried about getting tired at all. I have to be heads up in the ring.

“This fight is definitely a bigger step up than people thought I was going to take but after I win this I will prove a lot of people wrong.

“Everybody needs to take this kind of step if they want to be special and I want to be special. I know I am special. Training camp was great and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.


WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev (Center) speaks wtih members of the media on October 2, 2014 in Big Bear City, California at his media day for his November 8, 2014 world title unification fight against WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Bernard Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Photos by Sergey Kovalev/Hoganphotos.







Photo by:  Sergey Kovalev/Hoganphotos –

Big Bear City, CA – As current WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev prepares for the fight of his life against Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins next month, he is on the precipice of a life-altering event as his wife, Natalya, is moments away from giving birth to their first child.

The Kovalevs are expecting their son any day now, with the official due date scheduled for October 17. Despite the stress and distractions that come with expectant-parenthood, the 31-year-old Kovalev assured everyone at his media day at Wolf Total Fitness in Big Bear City, Calif. yesterday that his focus is still fixated 100 percent on Hopkins, “I’m living for this fight. Only for this fight. I’m leaving for Florida when my [first] baby is due. I’ll be in training camp in Florida because this is the most important thing in my life right now.”

Sergey is scheduled to conclude his strength and conditioning training in Big Bear on October 9, then he will return to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to begin the sparring portion of his training with his trainer two-division world champion John David Jackson. With this schedule, there is a very good chance he will not be with his wife in Los Angeles when she goes into labor.

“The doctor says my baby is due October 17, but also said that we can plan one week early because in the last week the baby will be one pound more so for my wife it will be harder,” explained Kovalev.

“Right now she’s very afraid she will stay alone in LA. She’s most worried that I won’t see him after [he is born] for one month. She says that for her it’s very important. I said, why? I will see a picture,” joked Kovalev. “I don’t understand yet, but maybe she is 100 percent right that I will see him Thursday and after that I will crush Hopkins. I need to see him first before I give him a name.”

Despite potentially missing out on the birth of his son, Kovalev feels training for this fight is the most important thing he can do for his new family, “I have in my body, I have in my face, I have in my mind, the motivation that I need to get this win because it’s my future.” He added, “My goal still is to be undisputed in this division. This fight is two more titles, it’s my goal. I want all four.”

Sergey knows he is facing no small feat in the 49-year old Hopkins, “Our styles are different. American and Russian boxers are from different boxing schools. Hopkins’ style is old school. He’s doing some things that nobody does. Nobody does it how he does it,” explained ‘The Krusher.’ “This fight for me will be a big test. Hopkins is very good fighter. He is a very tough fighter and very smart. It will be a very good fight. His defense is incredible too. We’re working on everything. I have prepared for twelve rounds because I understand his strategy, what he wants to do and we’ll be prepared for anything.”

Training camp always begins for Kovalev with strength and conditioning in Big Bear. “In Big Bear everything is close. Nobody can touch you, nobody can call you, nobody can disturb you – just you and your mind and your focus on the fight,” said Kovalev. “Big Bear helped me to be focused on my workout, on my job. Florida is boxing training camp. Only boxing, only sparring, not for physical training. Here [in Big Bear] is for strength and condition to be stronger in the ring.”

When asked about his strategy for Hopkins, Sergey said, “I don’t have any strategy. I just go into the fight. What will happen, will happen. I’m not scared to lose, I’m not scared to win. This is a sport. But Hopkins is a legend. He’s a professor of boxing. He’s a very proud man as a boxer. He’s very smart, he’s very technical. It will be very difficult to fight him and for me it will be very big test. I’m ready for any test in my life. I have prepared for this test.”

Sergey is known as “The Krusher” because of his uncanny ability to secure the knockout; 92 percent (23 of 25) of his victories have come via the stoppage. However, according to Kovalev, that is not his game plan going into each fight, “I don’t have a goal to knockout anybody. I just go into the ring and make a fight. When it happens, it’s good for me. Less work, less job in the ring, more happy and more happy for my fans. I don’t have a goal that I need to knock him out.” He added, “When you want to knockout somebody, you can’t do it because your opponent can see your punch. I just go in to do boxing.”–82812


By Bill “Two Scoops” Emes-

WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20KOs) plans to impress when he faces dangerous challenger Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17KOs) at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada. Kovalev makes the first defense of the title he captured in August from Nathan Cleverly. He wants to make a statement against Sillakh, and then hopes to secure unification bouts against the likes of IBF champion Bernard Hopkins, WBA champion Beibut Shumenov and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.


“This is very important for me to get a win and get a great win. I want to show the people a very good fight, the people who will spend money on tickets and the people who will be watching on TV, I want to give them a good fight,” Kovalev told


“This division is more interesting. Hopkins, at 48-years-old, he just got a win over Murat. That would be an amazing fight. I like this fight. Beibut Shumenov, for a long time I haven’t seen him in the ring and I’m wondering when he will get in the ring to show what he can do. And then there is Stevenson. Right now Stevenson is very popular. A lot of people want this fight [between me and him] and I want this fight and I hope it can happen in the future.”–71310

Promoter Frank Warren hopes to set Nathan Cleverly up with a big summer bout against Bernard Hopkins in Cardiff.

Welshman Cleverly successfully defended his WBO light-heavyweight title on Saturday night by beating Tommy Karpency on points.

Warren would like his next outing to be at London’s Royal Albert Hall in April – the venue’s first professional boxing bill for 10 years – but a megafight with American veteran Hopkins is where big money could be made.

The Caerphilly fighter, who completely outclassed Karpency in Cardiff en route to a unanimous decision from the judges, has already spoken of his desire to move on to a big unification fight, with the winner of the April 28 WBC title clash between Chad Dawson and Hopkins top of the agenda.

While Warren is looking to put that contest on at the Millennium Stadium or Cardiff City Stadium, he has also revealed he hopes the Welshman will defend his belt in London, also on April 28.

Warren said: “Nathan is coming on in leaps and bounds and all our attention will now of course turn to April 28 and the Bernard Hopkins v Chad Dawson fight, then we will be making a big decision about a fight in the summer.

“In the meantime I have the Royal Albert Hall booked for April 28.

“I don’t know if Nathan will be ready for that but I would not mind him being the guy to take boxing back there.

“There has been no professional boxing there for many, many years, it is probably the best venue in the country, the most prestigious venue and you could not get a better representative for British boxing than Nathan, to showcase taking professional boxing back there.”

As for a potential summer stadium bout in south Wales, which would hark back to the glory days of former super-middleweight king Joe Calzaghe, Warren says his preferred opponent for such a contest is Hopkins, and

defeat to Dawson would not rule the veteran American out of facing Cleverly.

He said: “For me the best fight for Nathan would be Hopkins.

“I have a feeling Dawson may upset the odds when they face each other, he will give him a lot of problems, but I would prefer Hopkins.

“He is a big name, he had a good fight with Joe Calzaghe and if we brought him over and did that show at Cardiff City Stadium or the Millennium Stadium, it would be a great atmosphere with maybe 50,000 people in there.

“Nathan needs big fights, he rises to them and he has great temperament.”

Cleverly, whose victory extended his 100 per cent record to 24 wins from 24 fights, said he would gladly accept the chance to fight Hopkins, and also suggested he would be ready to fight again on Warren’s mooted Royal Albert Hall date.

“I want to go and get a few more fights as champion to keep learning about being world champion,” he said. “This wasn’t a brutal fight so I will be fine for April, it will be good to keep active.”

He added: “I think I am ready to be unified champ.

“Hopkins and Dawson are the elite guys in the division, if you want to be the best those are guys you have to head for.

“I think I will be ready by the summer, if the opportunity came I would grab it with both hands and feel I could win the fight.

“Hopkins is a legend of the sport, an icon in the division, he has that aura. The fans showed their support by coming out tonight and I am sure that would be a good fight.”


If you saw WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly’s close 12 round majority decision win over challenger Tony Bellew (16-1, 10 KO’s) last Saturday night you would think the last thing that Cleverly needs to be doing is trying to move forward to fight WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson or 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins. But that’s exactly what the 24-year-old Cleverly wants to do.

I think he’s stupid for wanting this, because I think he didn’t even prove that he’s better than Bellew last weekend. I scored the fight a draw and that was after giving Cleverly a couple of mercy rounds. I really think he should have lost, but knowing how popular he is in the UK, I figured he would be given rounds that were close even if Bellew appeared to do the better work. The judges scored it 117-112, 114-114 and 116-113. The 117-112 score was just plain strange because there was no way on earth that Cleverly won by those wide of score.

Instead of looking to fight Dawson or Hopkins, and get dominated, Cleverly needs to give Bellew a rematch but with a whole different crew of judges apart from the one that scored it 114-114. I think Cleverly needs to show that he’s better than Bellew before he can move on to bigger and better things like Dawson or Hopkins. And right now Cleverly and Bellew are about equal. That’s just the reality of it. Cleverly can move on if he wants to but he looks bad because he didn’t show that he was better than Bellew.

Hopkins and Dawson aren’t going to waste time fighting Cleverly. That’s not going to happen. Dawson wants to fight a rematch against Jean Pascal, while Hopkins is injured from a bad shoulder injury. Who knows how long it will take for that injury to heal, but I don’t think he’ll want to fight a less than popular guy like Cleverly in his next fight in the U.S. Hopkins won’t travel to England, that’s the only place that a Cleverly vs. Hopkins fight has any significance. U.S fans won’t buy that fight, especially after the PPV fiasco of the Hopkins-Dawson fight.

Cleverly said this to ringtv: “I think Shumenov would be good next step for me. He’s only had about 13 fights and is WBA champion. Or there’s Tavoris Cloud, the IBF champion, who is a good fighter. There’d both be unification fights. If a fight with Hopkins or Dawson came along I would take it. Whether or not I’m ready, I don’t know.”

You’re not ready, Cleverly; take it from me. I think Cloud would knock Cleverly out with his high work rate and the same with Shumenov. With his poor defense, Cleverly would be a sitting duck against Cloud and Shumenov.
I hate to say it but Cleverly pretty much found his upper level in the Bellew fight and he’s reached his ceiling.

By Scott Gilfoid: