By: Hans Themistode
When a fighter decides to move up or down in weight, almost every single time it is out of necessity. Either he has gotten older and he has filled out his body more which essentially makes cutting weight more difficult, or the competition has simply gotten too stiff and it’s now time to move down.
In the case of Sergey Kovalev, his reasoning seems to stem from having nothing left to prove at the Light Heavyweight division. He may have been knocked out in his last ring appearance against Canelo Alvarez, but before that, he was a three time world champion and at one point held three of the four major belts in the division.
There wasn’t a single pound for pound list that did not include the name Sergey Kovalev near the top of it. Now, at the age of 36, Kovalev is clearly not the fighter he once was. The nickname that fans had grown accustomed to calling him, the “Krusher” no longer fits him.
Many believed that Kovalev would take the career high payday he received from Alvarez and ride off into the sunset. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
Kovalev wants one more title run. Matchups against WBA belt holder Dmitry Bivol and unified champion Artur Beterbiev would still generate buzz, but that isn’t the direction Kovalev is heading towards.
The former unified champ is tired of killing his body to make weight and instead, has opted to move up to the Cruiserweight division.
Outside of the Heavyweight division, the jump from 175 to 200 is the largest in terms of weight in the entire sport of boxing. Kovalev has always been a great fighter at 175, but he wasn’t never a big man. He has a slender build but does still seem to have great power.
Kovalev is incredibly audacious in his decision to move up in weight, but it could lead to his detriment. The extra pounds that Kovalev would be afforded could be to his benefit, but when listening to how his trainer Buddy McGirt wants to approach his new weight class, it could leave you scratching your head.
“He’s going up to cruiserweight,” said McGirt. “We’ll start training in about a month. As long as we go to 185 [pounds], we’re good. No more than 185,” McGirt said. “He can come in at 180 and beat those guys. He’ll be light, and that’s OK. I think he’ll be better at that weight.”
Only time will tell if Kovalev’s move up in weight was a sagacious one.