By Sean Crose
Aside from the fact that he’ll be facing the feared Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title on March 29th, not a lot of people know much about Cerdric Agnew. Nor do many people give the 27 year old fighter out of Houston much of a chance. And Agnew is fine with that.
“I don’t look at things like that,” he says. “I try not to let the negative parts of the game affect me. I try to keep a positive mind.”
He’ll have to keep a positive mind. For the fact of the matter is this: he’s about to enter into the ring with one of the most frightening punchers in the world, a man who has knocked out all but two of his twenty-three opponents. For his part, however, Agnew isn’t overly impressed with the champion.
“A lot of people look at him (Kovalev) like he’s a machine,” says Agnew, matter of factly. “If he was a machine, he wouldn’t be in this sport. They’re not going to put a machine in there with a human being. This guy’s human just like I am, you know?”
Agnew believes that Kovalev is a lot like Mike Tyson in that he wields his ferocious reputation as a weapon. “He’s been in there with a lot of guys who’ve feared him,” Agnew argues. “I fear no man.”
A look at Agnew’s resume assures that he does, in fact, have little reason to fear anyone. He’s 26-0, after all. And those 26 wins didn’t all come from carefully hand-picked opponents, either. Agnew is the type of fighter who’s even been known to take fights at the last minute.
The man has also had an extensive amateur career, one which took him all over the world. “Sweden, Romania, Australia,” Agnew’s been to all those places. In fact, he views the experience of having been an outsider as being beneficial now that he’s about to battle one of the sport’s rising stars.
“Traveling across the world,” he says, “you have big crowds and you don’t have home-based fans.” In short, Agnew knows what it’s like to be in a situation where “a lot of people are not going to be rooting for you.”
And that’s a good thing. Because Kovalev is quickly becoming one of the most popular boxers on the planet. The people at HBO, as well as the man’s handlers, see a lot of green in the explosive Russian. Stevensen, Ward, even GGG – those are the names that come up when Kovalev is disused, not Cedric Agnew’s. Does this make Agnew feel he’s being underestimated?
“I really don’t know,” he admits openly. “If I am, I m going to shock a lot of people come March 29th.”
Indeed, Agnew is supremely confident in his ability. “I’m feeling good training,” he says, “feeling strong, feeling really healthy.”
Those who haven’t seen Agnew fight before – and many haven’t – may even be in for a surprise come fight night. “I’m open to doing anything that’s going to get the job done,” Agnew claims. “I can’t say which Cedric is going to show up that night. I can make a boring fight or an ugly fight”
A boring fight? An ugly fight? With Sergey Kovalev? Is that a wise idea? The truth is, most observers don’t know. Because Cedric Agnew is about as obscure a legitimate opponent as one is apt to find. Not that obscurity is a bad thing. Who knows? Maybe Agnew will indeed shock the world come March 29th.
Yet will he be prepared for the spotlight if he manages to defeat the man they call Krusher? “I’m honestly not thinking about it,” Agnew says. “I try to stay true to me. If that happens, I’m staying humble.”
Being humble is a good thing. Even when everyone suddenly knows who you are.
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