Boxing: Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – Kovalev Crushes Hopkins and Much More


Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla serves up a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away. Follow Morilla on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing

Atlantic City, N.J., Nov. 8th

Sergey Kovalev UD 12 Bernard Hopkins, IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight unification

All great runs must end sometime. During the past two decades, Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KO) was one of boxing’s most consistent (albeit not really the most entertaining, at times) champions, breaking record after record during a historic run destined to stay in the books during a very long time. But he is now approaching his five decades of life on Earth, and even though Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KO) has less fights than Hopkins’ title defenses (31, in two separate divisions) the truth is that Father Time’s unforgiving advance has finally taken its toll on “The Alien”, as he came to define himself lately, and the unbeaten WBO light heavyweight titlist from Russia was too young, hungry and powerful for him. In all honestly, Kovalev may be just as unbeatable for any other light heavyweight on earth right now, and the fact that Hopkins unbelievably had Kovalev dancing on one leg and about to go down in the emotional final round of the bout is yet another testimony of the grit that Hopkins has been known for. But other than that brief moment of glory, it was all Kovalev from the very beginning. The “Krusher” was in control from the very beginning, dropping Hopkins in the opening round with a solid right hand and piling up point after point from then on. If anything positive can be said about Hopkins is that the difference in strength and mobility was as evident as the difference in ring savvy between them. Hopkins made the most of his sparse efforts with well-placed combinations throughout the bout, but they were not nearly enough to substantiate any claim to victory whatsoever, and the cards (120-107 twice and 120-106) served as a testimony of that. At the very least, they will now be remembered as another proof of Hopkins’ resilience and toughness until the very end.

The winner goes on to: With this win, Kovalev reigns supreme in a division suddenly rich in talent and lucrative bouts on both sides of the Atlantic. Expect him to make a few solid defenses against top-tier opposition before he even starts feeling the heat of a difficult competition.

The loser goes on to: A guaranteed induction in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a stellar career as a promoter would be enough for most mortals, but not for Hopkins. He may lay low for a while, but expect him to fight again after reaching the age of 50 once the dust is settled from this definitive but not at all devastating defeat.

Sadam Ali TKO 9 Luis Carlos Abregu, welterweights

Mild upset? Perhaps. Hasty stoppage? Very likely. In any case, Ali (22-0, 13 KO) was able to pass his most difficult test to date with flying colors. Abregu (36-2, 29 KO) was a once-beaten top contender who upset Thomas Dulorme two years ago, and his only loss came to Timothy Bradley in a fight in which Abregu suffered from a badly broken hand. Ali was overwhelmed by Abregu’s superior power and work rate in the early going, and he was also unable to figure out how to escape the Argentine fighter’s uncanny ability to cut off the ring. But entering the second part of this 10-rounder, Ali found a way to connect with power through Abregu’s leaky defense and dropped him for a short count in the sixth round. Abregu went all out to make up for time lost, but found himself on the receiving end of a fine counterattack that sent him to the canvas in round nine, this time more decisively. He seemed to be surviving the ensuing onslaught with minor problems when the referee stepped in to stop the bout and award the victory to Ali, with Abregu slightly ahead in the scorecards heading towards the end. Terrific win for Ali, who now manages to get in the mix at the top tier of the elite 147 lb division.

The winner goes on to: Sadam Ali has the unenviable task of appealing to an American audience in spite of an uninspiring name (to say the least), but if fans give him a break he may end up

Vyacheslav Glazkov TKO 7 Darnell Wilson, heavyweights

Solid win for a contender on the rise. Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 KO) was patient enough to wait for a mistake from Wilson (25-18-3, 21 KO) without rushing and dominating the entire course of the fight until he finally was able to pummel his foe into submission.

Stuttgart, Germany, Nov. 8th

Felix Sturm D 12 Robert Stieglitz, super middleweights

Just when you thought Sturm (39-4-3, 18 KO) had already given his best, he comes back with a terrific performance in a new weight class, in a long-awaited division change. The former four-time middleweight champion of Bosnian descent was coming off a series of shaky performances in his natural weight class, and his physique always suggested the possibility that a few extra pounds would actually benefit him. And they did. Against Stieglitz (47-4-1, 27 KO), a former two-time super middleweight champion himself, he looked stronger and more powerful than ever, landing the more telling punches while Stieglitz was forced to compensate with sheer work rate the advantage that he was losing in the power department. Stieglitz landed more, Sturm connected more clearly and with more power, and in the end the scores of 115-113 (Stieglitz), 115-113 (Sturm), and 114-114 felt just right, and the chance of an even more lucrative rematch in this all-German matchup is very much alive after such a tough and entertaining bout. We can only guess that Arthur Abraham and current WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who were sitting at ringside and evaluating the prospect of a fight with either one of them, will have to wait a little longer for their chance.

Susi Kentikian UD 10 Naoko Fujioka, female flyweights

Kentikian (34-2, 17 KO) has consistently been one of the world’s top female champions, and she did it again in this tough decision win over previously unbeaten Fujioka (12-1, 6 KO) by scores of 97-93, 97-94 and 96-94.

The winner goes on to: Kentikian has given mixed signals about a possible bout against Argentina’s Yessica Bopp, arguably the most interesting opponent out there for her, but this matchup should happen sooner than later.

Pharr, Texas, Nov. 8th

Diego Magdaleno TKO 3 Hevinson Herrera, lightweights

Magdaleno (27-1, 11 KO) and his brother Jesse are two of the most entertaining fighters out there, and Diego did not fail to perform as expected in this solid win over a game Herrera (17-10-1, 11 KO), dropping him in the third round and then sending him down for the final count right at the end of the round.

Brad Solomon UD 8 Eduardo Flores, welterweights

Egor Mekhontsev KO 2 Jinner Guerrero, light heavyweights

Chris Avalos TKO 5 Jose Cen Torres, junior featherweights

Three up-and-coming contenders also saw action in this card. Solomon (24-0, 9 KO) grabbed a unanimous, 80-72 (three times) decision over Flores (17-16-3, 12 KO). Mekhontsev (6-0, 6 KO), a talented Olympic light heavyweight gold medalist in 2012, kept his unblemished record intact with a stoppage over Guerrero (7-3, 6 KO) and Avalos (25-2, 19 KO) stayed on track towards a projected title bout next year with a stoppage over trial horse Torres (13-6, 1 KO).

Petionville, Haiti, Nov 8th

Evens Pierre TKO 10 Rene Gonzalez, lightweights

Haitian fighters have prominently featured in high-profile bout in the past few years (think Stevenson, Stiverne, Berto, and many others), but Pierre (24-1, 17 KO) is probably the lone prospect of the next generation of Haitian contenders fighting out of his own country (as well as Panama, where he occasionally trains and fights). This time, he took on a proven veteran in Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (31-7-1, 23 KO) and showed his people that he is ready for the next level with a punishing victory over a game, upset-minded foe.

Monterrey, Mexico, Nov. 8th

Fernando Montiel UD 10 Sergio Puente, junior lightweights

Montiel (52-4-2, 39 KO) is a former three-division world champion who had a rough couple of defeats in the past few years, but he’s been rebounding quite nicely with a string of reassuring wins. This time, he grabbed a workmanlike decision with over previously unbeaten Puente (15-1, 6 KO), sending him down to the canvas in the second round and dominating him throughout the fight.

Jose Zepeda KO 1 Victor Cayo, super lightweights

Cayo (32-6, 23 KO) was once considered a top contender, until he fell under the power of Marcos Maidana’s fists in a crossroads fight. Apparently he took the wrong side of that fork in the road, because he was never able to recover and has been sliding into mediocrity ever since. This time, Zepeda (21-0, 17 KO) was able to engross his unbeaten mark with a devastating KO in the very first round, courtesy of a left cross from his southpaw stance that sent Cayo heavily against the ropes for the… wait… what was the count again? It would appear that Cayo was up at the count of 8 and the fight was waved off anyway. True, he didn’t look excited about the possibility of continuing, but it still felt awkward.

Bethlehem, Pa., Nov. 8th

Amir Mansour TKO 7 Frederic Kassi, heavyweights

Mansour (21-1, 16 KO) is an entertaining heavyweight with a glossy record, and this should be enough reason for us to expect to see him take on bigger and better challenges in the future. In this occasion, he took care of Kassi (18-3, 10 KO) with a demolishing right hand that sent his foe down for a long, frightening while until he was able to recover and stand up on his own.

Dmitry Mikhaylenko KO 8 Ronald Cruz, junior middleweights

Mikhaylenko (18-0, 7 KO) kept his unbeaten streak alive, but it wasn’t easy. Cruz (20-5, 15 KO) may not be a top contender, but he was the local favorite and he has a deceptive record that fails to highlight his many strengths as a fighter. Still, Mikhaylenko was far more constant in his effort, and that was more than enough to force a surrender by Cruz at the end of the eight round.

Krakow, Poland, Nov. 8th

Artur Szpilka UD 10 Tomasz Adamek, heavyweights

Big or small, this was indeed the upset of the week. Szpilka (17-1, 12 KO) is one tough hombre, but very few thought he had enough to beat one of his country’s most talented fighters ever in Adamek (49-4, 29 KO) in this crossroads fight. But the youngster succeeded where almost 50 other foes failed, and he scored a unanimous decision over a former two division world champion and a modern-day Polish icon in front of a packed arena. Not a bad jumpstart for the second part of his career. Even though he is only 37 years old (not an old age for today’s heavyweight standards) Adamek announced his retirement shortly after the bout.

Maciej Sulecki KO 7 Grzegorz Proksa, middleweights

Another crossroads fights ended up in a mild upset when a young and relatively inexperienced Sulecki (19-0, 4 KO) stopped a respected former middleweight title challenger in Proksa (29-4, 21 KO) with a demolishing right hand in the seventh round.

Andrzej Soldra UD 8 Dawid Kostecki, light heavyweights

If anything, this one should have been a warning for the rest of the participants in the card. Kostecki (39-2, 25 KO) was coming off a long layoff and trying to stay ahead in the game by taking on a relatively soft touch, but Soldra (11-1-1, 5 KO) sent him back to the drawing board with a stiff challenge that Kostecki was never really able to overcome, even though he did manage to send Soldra to the canvas in the second episode. Three identical cards of 77-75 reflect the heat of the battle, but Soldra’s victory was never in question even after his short trip to the canvas.

Chandler, Australia, Nov. 8th

Zhanat Zhakiyanov TKO 2 Robert Lerio, bantamweights

Kazakhstan’s Zhakiyanov (24-1, 17 KO) continued his recovery after his lone loss with a stoppage of late replacement Lerio (16-21-1, 6 KO) of the Phillipines, who never had a chance against a top contender on a brilliant winning streak.

Rob Powdrill KO 1 Damien Hooper, light heavyweights

Huge upset here, especially if you’re Australian. Hooper (9-1, 8 KO) was a former Olympian and a local icon trying to put his then-unblemished record in double digits. Instead, he got a one-way, face-first trip to the canvas courtesy of a terrific left hook (which I saw landing a wee bit too far behind Hooper’s left ear) by the unheralded Powdrill (4-1, 1 KO) in just 21 seconds of action. That’s the time it took for Hooper to become a no-hoper, I guess, even though he has plenty of time and talent to recover.

Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 7th

Wanheng Menayothin TKO 9 Osvaldo Novoa, WBC strawweight title

Terrific little scrap among two true warriors of the lighter weights. Menayothin (36-0, 12 KO) put on the performance of his life, being more active, accurate and powerful than reigning minimum weight titlist Novoa (14-5-1, 9 KO), of Mexico, scoring a decisive victory in front of an adoring crowd of countrymen in his hometown.

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Diego Morilla
Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including, The Ring, Latino Boxing,, Lo Mejor del Boxeo,, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.