Can Sergey Kovalev Bounce Back from Defeat?


By: Jacob Tanswell

At one time, not so long ago, he was viewed as the the most feared boxer in the game, Sergey “the Krusher” Kovalev is now firmly at a crossroads in his boxing life. On November 25th, he has an opportunity to get back to winning ways,regaining the WBO World Light Heavyweight Title in the process against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1) and perhaps salvage his career.

After suffering two contentious defeats to the recently retired Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev is having to evaluate his future. After being considered as one of the pound for pound best, who was seen as an unbeatable, powerful and a “beast from the east,” Kovalev has well and truly been a victim of his own hype. After weaknesses being exposed in the two Ward fights along with some staggering revelations from previous trainers, there is an argument from the fans that he is no longer “the Krusher.” The question is, has the former unified champion regained that hunger that made him so successful? Or is he continuing with the same mindset and bad habits?

On the back of an 8th round stoppage defeat to Andre Ward in June, shocking allegations have been made about Kovalev. Along the with increased strain on his promotional relationship with Kathy Duva, John David Jackson, his former trainer, has had some choice words to say about him. During a number of controversial interviews, Jackson claimed that once Kovalev found success, he lost his appetite and desire; he often didn’t train as hard and would regularly drink vodka and other alcohol during training camp. Furthermore, he insisted that the Russian couldn’t take a shot to the body and knew “Ward would get to his body” in the rematch which in the end, proved correct. Jackson and another former trainer in Abel Sanchez unanimously agreed Sergey was very difficult to train and had complex personality traits which caused tension in their partnerships. Since being catapulted into stardom, the once determined fighter who was brought up through hardship and struggle, became embroiled in his ultra ego – “the Krusher.” Everywhere you went in his training camp, them two words could be seen. Many believed he thought he was superhuman; no one could touch him. Now, after two loses, that notorious reputation is currently plunged in crisis after falling from grace. Its up to him to regain that tag and prove himself amongst the elite in the division.

In order to reaffirm himself on the light heavyweight scene, he needs to get that “hunter” mentality back, starting with the fight on the 25th. A good performance and a win will certainly go along way to convince doubters that Kovalev has his hunger back and has realised he has a point to prove. Then, eventually, he can finally put the Ward saga behind him, instead focusing on same huge dust ups in 2018 against possibly the new breed of superstars in Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol who are finding themselves in the same boat Kovalev was once on – tenacious fighters who are on the quest to achieve greatness…

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