Sergey Kovalev wants to deliver a direct message to Hopkins ahead of their showdown on Saturday night:
"I always have bullets in my arsenal," said Kovalev, who was last in the ring for a second-round stoppage of Blake Caparello. "My hands are my weapons. They're my weapons in the ring. Hopkins thinks that I only have two bullets but I will bring some more."
Kovalev also isn't concerned about any questionable tactics that Hopkins may try to employ in order to get an edge in their fight. He's been preparing for just that.
"I wanna get some lesson from the professor of boxing. He is old school boxer," said Kovalev. "I want to get some experience from this fight that can make me better for another fight."
"He is fighting like a street fighter, because he is dangerous," said Kovalev. "He can cut you from the head, from the elbow, everything. From any part of his body. He is looking like a very dirty fighter. Sometimes, he is making like a clown."
I'm not sure if "clown" would be the right analogy here. They're more known for their big red noses, make-up, and ridiculously colored hair. Hopkins' sharp elbows, bald head, and mauling tactics are perhaps more akin to...a jagged rock landslide? Hmmm, I may have to work on that one...
Well - anyway, Kovalev also let it be known that he feels it was a bit shameful the way Hopkins took a dive to get out of the first Chad Dawson fight when things weren't going his way. Although he didn't explicitly accuse Hopkins of taking a dive, he did intimate as much.
"He is a good actor. If he is feeling like he can't do something legally, he starts playing like an actor and complaining about pain or a low blow or something," said Kovalev. "Like in his first fight against Chad Dawson, he was not ready for this fight. I saw his first round and after first round he understood that he is not going to win this fight and he complained he hurt his shoulder ... and ... he still keep title."
Ultimately, though, Bernard Hopkins is still a living legend in this boxing game and Kovalev would be ill-advised to expect the referee to take up the cause for him, whether there are fouls or not. He'll need to be prepared to impose himself on Hopkins no matter what Bernard decides to do, because if Hopkins can get in his head, that'll pretty much spell disaster.