By: William Holmes
The world’s most exciting light heavyweight contender, Sergey Kovalev, fights this Saturday at the ballroom in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was supposed to be a setup fight for a fall showdown with the other light heavyweight kingpin Adonis Stevenson, but once Stevenson signed with Al Haymon that dream matchup was crushed.
Boxers who sign with Haymon tend to be pushed towards fights with lower risk and with the same or more lucrative payout. Good for the boxers, bad for the fans.
However, Kovalev does still have some intriguing possibilities in the future for him with HBO that does not include Stevenson, but he has to get past the undefeated and overlooked Cedric Agnew first. HBO will also be televising a competitive junior welterweight bout between Thomas Dulorme and Karim Mayfield.
The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts.
Thomas Dulorme (20-1) vs. Karim Mayfield (18-0); Junior Welterweights
This is an excellent matchup and a great opportunity for two highly rated contenders in the junior welterweight division. A win for either could lead to a potential matchup with HBO aligned boxers such as Ruslan Provlidnikov and Brandon Rios.
Mayfield is nine years older than Dulorme, three inches shorter, and he will be giving up two inches in reach. They have similar knockout ratios. Mayfield has stopped eleven of his opponents including three of his last five while Dulorme has stopped fourteen of his opponents including two of his last five.
Dulorme has the deeper amateur background. He’s a former Golden Gloves Champion and had an amateur record of 140-2, but it is Mayfield who has the more impressive professional record.
Mayfield has defeated the likes of Raymond Serrano, Steve Forbes, and Mauricio Herrera. Herrera just took Danny Garcia to the brink of defeat in a fight that many feel Herrera should have been awarded the decision. Inactivity may hurt Mayfield since he has only fought once in 2013 and twice in 2012.
Dulrome has fought four times in 2013, but none of those victories were against prime or highly rated contenders. He has defeated the likes of Francisco Figueroa, DeMarcus Corley, and Aris Ambriz. His lone loss came against Luis Carlos Abregu in 2012. He was down twice in that bout before his corner threw in the towel in the seventh round. Dulorme, however, has performed well since his lone loss and has rebounded nicely.
It’s a tough fight to pick, but a slight edge has to go towards Mayfield based on his victories over tougher competition. If he can effectively pressure Dulorme in the early rounds he may be able to prevent the fight from going to the scorecards.
Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1) vs. Cedric Agnew (26-0); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev has quickly become a fan favorite of boxing diehards and for very good reason. He has stopped twenty one of his opponents, and his last eleven victories have come by way of knockout or technical knockout. He has gone past the sixth round twice. Darnell Boone took him to the scorecards in 2010 but was later knocked out in the second round by Kovalev in 2012. Simakov took him to the seventh round but tragically lost consciousness after the bout and passed away three days later.
Kovalev has crowd pleasing and dangerous power. His nickname, The Krusher, is well earned.
Agnew doesn’t have the power of Kovalev. He has only stopped thirteen of his opponents, but he is one of the better pure boxers that Kovalev has ever faced. Agnew has a strong US amateur background but his professional resume pales in comparison to Kovalev.
Agnew only fought once in 2013, a twelve round decision over former title challenger Yusaf Mack. He was active in 2012 and fought four times, but three of those fights were against opponents with losing records. The other victory was against Otis Griffin, but Griffin is currently in the middle of a five fight losing streak.
Agnew’s most impressive victories to date have come against Rubin Williams, Daniel Judah, Yusaf Mack, and Otis Griffin. Six of his last ten opponents had losing records at the time he faced them. His resume looks good at first glance, but a further evaluation reveals it is paper thin.
Kovalev has faced significantly tougher competition than Agnew. His notable victories have come in impressive fashion against Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, Cornelius White, Gabriel Campillo, and Lionell Thompson. At this point in his career Kovalev is lacking that big name victory to his resume, but that is due to the fact the possible opponents are choosing to take on less risky opposition than Kovalev.
Agnew’s best hope for victory is to take the fight the distance and avoid violent exchanges with Kovalev. That is easier said than done.
This writer fully expects Kovalev to win by an early stoppage and other light heavyweight boxers will continue to do their best to avoid him.