Sergey Kovalev isn't really a trash talker, but the WBO light heavyweight titleholder doesn't mince words about how he feels about Bernard Hopkins' fighting style, either. He's recently described Hopkins as a dirty fighter, and went deeper on those thoughts this week with Danny Segura of Fight Hub TV.
"He punches with open hands, he leads with his head like a deer. He fights like a street fighter," Kovalev said. "He's dangerous. He can cut you from the head, from the elbow, from everything. Any part of his body. Maybe he loses his control. Maybe his specialty is doing this. I don't know. But he's a very dirty fighter. Not clean."
Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KO) didn't stop there, either, accusing Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KO) of acting "like a clown" during some previous fights, notably the first fight with Chad Dawson in 2011.
"Sometimes, he makes like a clown. He's, like, a good actor. If he's feeling that he can't do something legally, he starts playing actor. Like, 'oh, pain!' or low blow or something. Like the first fight against Chad Dawson. Come on. He was not ready for that fight. I saw it in the first round. After the first round, he understood that he wouldn't win that fight. Everybody knows what he did. He's, like, 'Oh, my shoulder, I can't fight anymore.'"
These are not new thoughts, of course, but sometimes lost in the fawning admiration of Hopkins' immense achievements and greatness are those nights like the Dawson fight(s) where nobody came away with a whole lot of good things to say. Will we see that again tomorrow night? Hopefully not, but with Bernard, you never know exactly what you'll get.