By Chris Cella
This Saturday night, January 19, live from the Mohegan Sun Casino, NBC Sports delivers an action packed fight card featuring a light heavyweight matchup that has the potential to leave one pugilist vying for a title in the near future by emerging victoriously.
Undefeated prospect Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (19-0-1, 17 KO) will put his unblemished record on the line against one of the most skilled and technically sound boxers in the division, Gabriel Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KO).
The heavy handed Russian will be looking to continue his devastating ways, having not allowed a fight to go to the judge’s scorecard in over two years.
But while he has made his work appear easy against less than formidable opponents, Kovalev will have his hands full Saturday night against the southpaw veteran Campillo. The Spanish fighter came up short last February–his last trip between the ropes–against undefeated IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud, being edged out in a tough split decision.
The taller fighter Campillo will look to establish his rhythm and jab early on, keeping Kovalev and his power at bay. It will be key for the southpaw to avoid the orthodox fighter’s money shot: his straight right hand. Kovalev has displayed his power, finishing off all but three of the men who have stood across from him within the squared circle, and will be looking to make an impact Saturday night to show the world that he is ready for a world title shot.
At 34-years old, one has to wonder how much Campillo has left in the tank; in his last outing, he felt the canvas twice against the heavy handed Cloud, and won’t receive any type of reprieve as Kovalev will be looking to end the night early.
In boxing, fans thrive on the various matchups between two warriors, whether it’s a war between two fighters in a phone booth, or a display of raw strategy and technique through 12 rounds. But Saturday’s battle between Kovalev and Campillo is the classic case of boxer vs. puncher. Campillo has shown through his career he has the ring smarts and experience to fight his fight, avoid the big exchanges, and win each round; Kovalev, on the other hand, has relied on sheer brute force, bullying his opponents, making them conform to his style of fighting, and closing out the fight.
Whichever man is able to better execute will be the deciding factor in Saturday night’s fight.
The co-feature of the night highlights two emerging middleweights looking to start the New Year off on a positive note. Elvin Ayala 26-5-1, 12 KO will exchange leather with Curtis Stevens (22-3, 16 KO) in a 10-round contest.
The action starts live on NBC Sports at 9 p.m. Eastern this Saturday, January 19.