Kovalev annihilates Caparello; Hopkins is next

By Matt Richardson at ringside

Photos: Rich Graessle/Main Events

In the latest in a string of exciting stoppage victories, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev rose from a first round knockdown to stop unbeaten Blake Caparello in the second round Saturday night at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs) dropped Caparello with a painful body shot in the second round that almost left the Aussie on the canvas permanently. Caparello (19-1-1, 6 KOs) rose grimacing but was soon knocked down twice more; once to a knee after taking a right in the corner and, finally, halfway through the ropes after taking a combination before the fight was called off at the 1:47 mark.

kovalev-caparello300“That body shot was devastating. It was like a Roy Jones body shot,” Caparello promoter Lou DiBella said afterward.

The fight started off in surprising fashion when Caparello dropped Kovalev with a straight left down the middle. Kovalev seemed partially off balance but the knockdown was legitimate. When he rose, after taking an eight-count from referee Sparkle Lee, he went back to loading up on big shots. Kovalev was warned for punching behind the head before the round concluded but he came out differently in the second round and was soon standing over his opponent.

With the win against Caparello, the topic of conversation for Kovalev now shifts to his next opponent. On Friday, it was announced that current WBA and IBF title-holder Bernard Hopkins would be that fighter (assuming Kovalev won against Caparello). Hopkins, never one to miss a chance to talk and talk and talk, was in attendance at Revel and spoke to the media prior to the main event.

“I realized that I want to be undisputed,” Hopkins said. Many thought that that goal would have been fulfilled on Hopkins behalf, but against linear/WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, instead. Stevenson, after all, had backed out of an agreed upon fight with Kovalev to move over to Showtime in hope of an eventual fight with the 49-year-old.

That fight is moot, now.

“You know who lost? Stevenson lost,” said an agitated Hopkins about the failure to secure the fight. “He didn’t have the balls of the intelligence to do it. Nine out of 10 fights get made if we put our foot down.”

kovalev-caparello300aThankfully, Kovalev and Hopkins have done just that and the two will now fight each other (on regular HBO) in the fall. The network change is largely due to the thaw in relations between Golden Boy Promotions and HBO. “Now that we’re dating again, hopefully it becomes a full blown relationship,” Hopkins said.

“November 8th is the biggest thing in boxing right now,” Hopkins said. “I am not going to knock him out. I am going to the ring for boxing,” Kovalev said afterward. “If I knock him out I will be happy. It’s a very big fight and a very interesting fight for me, myself and the boxing world.”

“I still think a legitimate boxer like Hopkins can do well,” DiBella said after the fight. “But Kovalev has dynamite in his gloves. I think it’s a great matchup.”

* * *

kovalev-caparello300bUnbeaten Dmitry Mikhaylenko outworked former prospect Sechew Powell over eight rounds in the final under card bout. The three judge scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.

Mikhaylenko (17-0, 6 KO’s) frequently beat Powell to the punch and was simply the more aggressive and accurate fighter. Powell, once considered a bright prospect emanating from the “Big Apple,” has now lost four consecutive fights and may want to consider a new line of work.

Mikhaylenko, meantime, secured the best win of his career and will likely look to move into bigger, more important (and better paying) fights against some of the younger fighters in the division.

* * *

kovalev-caparello300cFringe light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba put together a dull, workman like performance against Cory Cummings en route to a seventh round stoppage.

The fight was called off after Cummings’ corner threw in the towel at the 2:28 mark. Cummings had minimal success early in the bout by barreling into Cummings’ chest and banging away. Chilemba (23-2, 10 KO’s) began to establish his distance more effectively as the fight wore on and started boxing well from the outside. As each round progressed he busted up Cummings more and more until his opponents face was a bloodied and swollen mess.

Cummings has now lost three in a row (including a decision to an ancient William Joppy) for an overall ledger of 17-7-1 with 13 KO’s.

* * *

kovalev-caparello300dIn a heavyweight fight devoid of skill but big on heart, Adam Kownacki stopped Charles Ellis in the fifth round of a scheduled six. Both men threw big shots from the start with jabs rarely in sight. Kownacki (7-0, 7 KO’s) was badly rocked in the third after taking a combination and uppercut in the corner. He bounced back impressively later in the round, however, and wound up rocking Ellis in the corner.

Kownacki did better in the fourth as Ellis (9-2-2, 8 KO’s) slowed although both men appeared to be utterly exhausted. Kownacki came out firing in the fifth and promptly hurt Ellis. A right-left hook combination dropped Ellis onto his back. Referee Randy Neumann went to issue a count but instead elected to call the fight off then and there and call the ringside doctors into the ring, instead. Ellis quickly jumped up and protested the stoppage, which did seem slightly premature considering the back and forth nature of the bout up until that point. Time of the ending was :15 of the fifth.

* * *

Junior middleweight DeCarlo Perez defeated Marcus Willis via majority decision in a mildly entertaining six-rounder. Perez (12-3-1, 4 KO’s) won the bout on scores of 59-55 (twice) and 57-57. Both men had their moments in the fight and often exchanged combinations but due to a lack of power in both fighters, neither seemed capable of hurting the other. Willis is now 13-4-2 with three knockout wins.

* * *

Heavyweight Joey Dawejko blew out David Williams in the first round of a scheduled eight. Dawejko (11-3-2, 4 KO’s) knocked Williams down three times before a stoppage was called with Williams still on the canvas. Time of the stoppage was 1:48. Dawejko, who fought at a beefy 236.5 pounds, came out aggressively and soon knocked Williams on a combination. Two vicious knockdowns soon followed, which allowed Dawejko to win his third fight in a row since a loss to Charles Martin last November. Williams is now 7-9-2 with two wins coming inside the distance.

* * *

In the first fight of the evening, Hakim Bryant stopped Anthony Watson in the fourth and final round of a middleweight fight. Bryant (2-0, 1 KO) hurt Watson badly in the third round but couldn’t put Watson (0-2) on the canvas. After Watson got caught again in the following round the referee stepped in to call a halt at the 38-second.

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