By MICHEL PEDROSO
Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalez held an open workout at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn Tuesday before their upcoming light heavyweight title fight in Atlantic City on Saturday.
Hopkins, 49, who is a big underdog to the heavy-handed Kovalev, said while getting his hand taped up that he’s “always had an itch,” before he paused, lowered his head and closed his eyes.
Hopkins’ eyes remained closed for a second or two longer before he raised his head, opened his eyes wide, and sternly finished his sentence: “For going against the greatest.”
Hopkins also pointed out how he’s been an underdog in the past and has continually proven the boxing critics and so-called experts wrong. During the workout, Hopkins joked with members of the media, giving no indication that he’s nervous about what the Russian Kovalev’s mighty hands might do to his face.
As for the 31-year-old Russian, he doesn’t believe Hopkins’ age makes any kind of difference, as the same amount of respect is there either way. But Kovalev also understands the pressure he’s under representing an entire country, acknowledging that this upcoming bout is “very, very important” to the Russian people.
As for current Russian president Vladimir Putin, Kovalev said that he has not spoken to him and, with a smile, added, Putin is “very busy.”
Hopkins, who of late has monickered himself as “The Alien” and who will turn 50 in January, was quick to point out that “Fifty is not the new 25 for everybody.”
Aside from the gray hairs in his stubble, Hopkins definitely looks way younger than 50. Whether the self-proclaimed “greatest defensive boxer ever” can still outpoint one of these young animals in the ring will be revealed on Saturday.