By MARCO POGGIO
They probably would have nothing to do with one another, if it weren’t for a common goal: to knock the other out and sit on the throne of worldwide boxing, making their clash inevitable.
Bernard Hopkins and Sergei Kovalev showed up at a press conference on Tuesday to say that they are ready for the fight scheduled for November 8 in Atlantic City.
The most anticipated boxing match of the year will not simply put face-to-face two of the best light heavyweight champions in recent history; it will be the confrontation of two generations of athletes.
The winner of the bout will claim three of the four main titles in the world of boxing.
Hopkins, 49, has pulverized many records, including the one of being the oldest man to win a major championship in the history of boxing.
Kovalev, 31, said he grew up watching Hopkins fights on TV. powerlins ii femmes Now that he has become a rising star in today’s boxing scene, he finally has a chance to meet him on the ring.
Hopkins, who renamed himself “The Alien”, challenged his critics that age does not matter.
“Some still don’t believe me,” he told the reporters, “but I promoted the fight because I’m trying to give you a chance to reconsider your stubbornness.”
In a meeting room of the Waldorf Astoria hotel packed with reporters and photographers, Hopkins did much of the talking, attracting the attention to himself and his legacy.
“I bloomed late,” said Hopkins of his career.
He became a professional boxer after serving a nearly five years in prison for a series of felonies he committed as a teenager. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in North Philadelphia helped shape him into the fighter he is today.
Devoted to boxing as a way to stay out of trouble, Hopkins worked out unceasingly to turn himself into a champion, first in the middleweight, than in the light heavyweight division.
In 1995, he won the International Boxing Federation title as a middleweight. In 2001, he stripped Tito Trinidad of the World Boxing Association and The Ring titles in the same division.
But his career as a light heavyweight did not begin until 2006, when he won both IBO and The Ring titles in a bout against Antonio Tarver.
Hopkins’s legacy built up in the decade that followed. Last April 19, he won both the International Boxing Association and the WBA titles against Beibut Shumenov.
To become the undisputed light heavyweight emperor, Hopkins needs to win the World Boxing Organisation belt. On November 8, in Atlantic City, he will attempt to snatch it from Kovalev.
The Russian boxer, aka “The Krusher,” will come to the fight with a record of zero defeats. He won his last 13 bouts by knockout, and only two of his opponents made it past the fourth round.
“Fighting Hopkins is like a dream come true,” said Kovalev of the coming match. Asked earlier on Tuesday if he could relate to Hopkins’ life story, he said their lives are too different to be compared.
“He was in prison. He was in ghetto; you know, a gangster, in the past,” he said in his thick Russian accent. “I am a nice guy.”
Being so stereotypically different from one another, the face-off between the two champions barely evaded Cold War undertones. But commenting on the crisis in Ukraine, Kovalev showed in distrust for politics.
“Don’t believe what they show you on TV,” he said, referring to both sides of the conflict.
Ticket sales begin on Friday, September 5, at 12 p.m. ET.