Sergey Kovalev is Moving Up To The Cruiserweight Division
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.
What’s Next for Sergey Kovalev?
By: Hans Themistode
Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) may have lost his WBO Light Heavyweight title, but he isn’t the washed up fighter that many are proclaiming him to be. On November 2nd, at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kovalev was stopped in the 11th round in his contest against Canelo Alvarez.
Thoughts of retirement are prevalent at this moment, and for good reason. He just isn’t who he used to be. With that being said, he still has a bit left in the tank.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Take a look at who Kovalev should fight next in what could be the final fight of his career.
With Oleksandr Gvozdyk also coming off a knockout loss which resulted in him losing his title in his last contest, both of these former champions need each other at this point. There won’t be a belt on the line in this one, but this contest would still hold plenty of intrigue.
Gvozdyk in particular, wants to bounce back to show that he is still a championship level fighter. Kovalev on the other hand could vault back to near the top of the division with a big win.
Marcus Browne is yet another opponent that shares something similar with Kovalev. They are both coming off stunning stoppage losses. In the case of Browne, he lost both his WBA interim title and his undefeated record at the hands of Jean Pascal in his last contest.
Browne presents Kovalev with a respectable name and a beatable one as well. As long as Kovalev isn’t completely over the hill, he should be able to win this contest handily.
With Sergey Kovalev no longer in possession of a title it must feel like foreign territory for him. For years he has held a piece of the Light Heavyweight championship. At the age of 36 he is clearly past his prime and on his way out. What better way to end his amazing career, than with a contest against one of the best fighters in the weight class.
Dmitry Bivol is considered the second best fighter that the division has to offer by most. Kovalev might be long in the tooth, but he is still experienced and can take advantage of the flaws that Bivol currently has. This bout will also give Kovalev the chance to win another world title. It may not be the contest it would have been several years ago, however, it would still be a high quality matchup.
Canelo vs. Kovalev Round by Round Results: Canelo Crumbles Kovalev in the 11th
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s DAZN fight card featuring Mexican Superstar Canelo Alvarez facing off against Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev.
Canelo jumped up two weight classes to face Kovalev, and many felt this fight carried a lot of risk for Canelo. The undercard ended before twelve, but executives at DAZN decided to wait until the conclusion of the UFC pay per view main event before starting the fight between Canelo and Kovalev.
Unfortunately for fight fans that meant a long gap in between the co-main event and main event of the evening.
The three national anthems for the evening, the Russian, Mexican, and American anthems, were finally sung at 12:57 AM Eastern Time. Kovalev entered the ring first to a muted response and Canelo entered second to a much more enthusiastic crowd.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.
Sergey Kovalev (34-3) vs. Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Kovalev looks significantly taller than Canelo inside the ring, but Canelo looks to be in incredible shape. Kovalev comes out with his jab and keeps it in the face of Canelo. Canelo is keeping a high and tight guard. Canelo lands a short body shot. Canelo is showing some good head movement. Kovalev’s right hand misses a few times. Canelo misses with a jab. Canelo misses with a two punch combination. Kovalev lands three straight jabs. Good straight right by Kovalev. Kovalev is effective with his reach so far. Canelo ends first round with a short left uppercut, but not enough to win the round.
Kovalev is active with his jab early on. Kovalev gets hit with a glancing left hook. Kovlave lands a few hard jabs in the face of Canelo. Canelo really had good head movement. Kovalev lands a short left hook to the head of Canelo. Canelo lands a short left hook to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev is throwing a large number of punches. Canelo lands a good hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo gets tagged with a check left hook. Kovalev is touching Canelo and moving. Canelo lands a good right counter on Kovalev. Canelo lands a hard jab. Kovalev is outlanding and out throwing Canelo, but Canelo is starting to look more confident.
10-9 Kovalev, 20-18 Kovalev
Kovalev comes out firing his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good jab. Canelo lands a good counter right and follows it with a jab. Kovalev is very active with his jab. Canelo lands a short check left hook. Kovalev is picking his chances to throwing his straight right hand. Canelo lands a good counter left and Kovlaev replies with a counter combination. Canelo is having some difficulty closing the distance against the repetitive jab of Kovalev.
10-9 Kovalev, 30-27 Kovalev
Kovalev comes out the aggressor against Canelo. Kovalev gets moved backward from a left hook by Canelo. Canelo lands a good left hook to the temple of Kovalev. Kovalev has throwing over 100 more jabs than Canelo at this point in the fight. Canelo is beginning to walk Kovalev down, and is able to land a good right to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev lands a good left hook the body of Canelo. Canelo seems focused on landing to the body. Kovalev is a little wary of Canelo’s power but still more active. Closer round.
10-9 Canelo, 39-37 Kovalev.
Kovalev comes out at the start of the fifth round sticking behind his jab. Canelo appears to have an edge in power over Kovalev. Canelo lands a good stiff jab on Kovalev. Canelo lands a heavy left hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo is really starting to dig into his punches. Canelo is pressing the pace and action this round. Kovalev lands a short right but takes a hard shot to the body afterwards. Canelo partially blocks a right uppercut from Kovalev. Kovalev lands two good shots to the body and Canelo goes upstairs with a left hook. Kovalev with another good right to the body. Close round, but Kovalev more active.
10-9 Kovalev, 49-46 Kovalev.
Kovalev is sticking his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo loads up and lands two hooks to the ribs of Kovalev. Canelo lands a short jab. Canelo does not appear to be bothered with the power shots of Kovalev. Canelo lands two more hard shots to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev is unsuccessful in tying up with Canelo. Canelo lands a good pull counter straight right on Kovalev. Canelo lands a good straight right followed by a left hook to the head of Kovalev. Canelo digs in two more hard hooks to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev takes a deep breath near the end of the round.
10-9 Canelo, 58-56 Kovalev
Kovalev paws his jab at the face of Canelo. Kovalev is leading with his left hook. Canelo sticks out a short jab in the face of Kovalev. Canelo lands another sharp jab. Canelo lands a counter left hook. Kovalev unable to tie up with Canelo again. Canelo with another crisp left hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo lands a short right to the chin of Kovalev. Canelo is bullying Kovalev around the ring. Canelo lands another short straight right hand. Canelo is definitely landing the harder punches on Kovalev. Good two punch combination from Canelo. Good round for Canelo.
10-9 Canelo, 67-66 Kovalev
Kovalev flicking out his jab and lead left hooks to start the round. Canelo lands a good short jab. Canelo landing heavy shots to the body again. Canelo is blocking a lot of Kovalev’s punches. Kovalev is doubling and tripling up his jab. Kovalev ducks under a counter right by Canelo. Kovalev is backing up Canelo around the ring. Some fans are whistling right now. Kovalev has Canelo’s back against the ropes.
10-9 Kovalev, 77-75 Kovalev
They touch gloves at the start of the round. Kovalev doubling up his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good counter left hook. Kovalev lands a good combination on Canelo upstairs and Canelo answers with a counter to the body. Boos and whistles from the crowd again. Kovalev touches Canelo twice upstairs cleanly. Kovalev lands a good counter right on Canelo, and Canelo lands a left to the body. Canelo lands some good power shots on Kovalev while Kovalev jabs at the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good right hook to the body then a right to the head of Kovalev. Canelo isn’t throwing enough combinations but is landing some power shots.
10-9 Canelo, 86-85 Kovalev
Lots of close rounds at this point. Canelo looks to be fighting with a little more urgency. Kovalev touching and moving with Canelo. Canelo has Kovalev backed to a corner and lands a good straight right hand. Kovalev eats an over the top right hand. Canelo is moving Kovalev around the ring. Kovalev is throwing a high number of punches but a lot of them are range finding punches. Kovalev jabs to the body. Canelo looks a little frustrated. Some boos from the crowd again.
10-9 Kovalev, 96-94 Kovalev
Canelo starts off round with a good two punch combination. Canelo lands a right uppercut to the body. Canelo looks like he is pressing the pace more this round. Canelo lands a short straight right hand. Canelo tags Kovalev with a right uppercut followed by a right hook. Kovalev circling away from Canelo. Canelo flicks out and lands a jab, and follows it with a whistling left hook. Kovalev lands a good rising left hand. Canelo lands a hard right hand, and Kovalev wraps a right hand around the guard of Canelo. Canelo lands two hard shots to the body. Canelo lands a vicious two punch combination and Kovalev crumbles to the ground.
The referee immediately waives it off as Kovalev is badly hurt.
Canelo ends it in stunning fashion.
Canelo wins the WBO Light Heavyweight Title by KO at 2:15 of the eleventh round.
Bernard Hopkins Talks Canelo-Kovalev
By: Sean Crose
“Have a good fitness coach.”
That’s Bernard Hopkin’s advice for any fighter hoping to move up in weight to attain ring glory. His other piece of advice: “Be yourself. Being yourself got you here.” Hopkins knows that which of he speaks. After making himself undisputed and unquestioned king of the middleweight division, the Philadelphia fighter moved up to light heavyweight and won four or five titles in that division, as well (including the lineal). Now retired, the Golden Boy Promotions power player might be someone Canelo Alvarez should pay attention to. For not only is Canelo moving up to light heavyweight this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Vegas, he’s facing former Hopkins’ foe, WBO champ Sergey Kovalev.
Then again, the likeable Hopkins is very open about the fact that he lost to Kovalev in their 2014 bout. “I would be a bad example,” he says good naturedly. “He has to be aware that he (Kovalev) is the Krusher.” Still, Hopkins is nothing if not a keen study. “You can’t keep your eyes off the guy,” he says of Kovalev. “You can be doing well and get hit with one shot and it changes the game.” Perhaps most importantly, Hopkins believes Canelo should be aware “he’s trying to enter someone’s house,” that house being the light heavyweight division. As for Kovalev? “He’s just waiting with a big shotgun for someone to come in.”
None of this means Hopkins isn’t pulling for his guy to win on Saturday (Canelo is Golden Boy’s star fighter). Hopkins sees Canelo as a protégé who is now set to avenge his loss to the hard hitting Russian. “Revenge is so sweet,” he says, “you know that?” From Hopkin’s perspective, a Canelo victory would be sweet indeed. “I didn’t get you,” Hopkins says hypothetically, “but my protégé got you. My son got you.” No matter how the fight turns out, however, it’s clear Hopkins is in a good place.
“Personally, it’s the fun part that I can sit back and watch,” he says. “I love what I do. I love the sweet science.” There’s a lot to love when interesting matches like this weekend’s come around. “Both guys equally have their own (strong) traits,” says Hopkins of Canelo and Kovalev. “Both of those styles coming together, it’s like pizza and cheese.” It’s clear when talking to Hopkins that he admires the passion both men have for the sport. “Neither of these guys,” he says. “has a surrender bone in their body.”
Although he hasn’t involved himself with either fighter much heading into the weekend (he’s now on the business side of things, after all), Hopkins offers a unique insight into the workings of a major fight. He also offers a humorous take on the fight game. When asked if he has spoken recently to Kovalev, the man long known as B’Hop offers a snappy retort: “All I can say to him is why’d you hit me so hard?”
Canelo vs Kovalev: Who Faces The Most Pressure?
By: Hans Themistode
Pressure comes with just about everything in a normal everyday life. For professional athletes, that pressure seems to come twice as strong and a lot more often.
Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), will attempt to win another world title in a fourth weight class. It won’t come easy as he will take on WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) in front of his rabid fan base at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo Credit: Sergey Kovalev Twitter Account
With both fighters facing arguably the biggest test of their careers, the question now becomes, who faces the most pressure in this contest?
To be fair, both fighters face pressure, there is a lot on the line for them. Still, the pressure will be extraordinarily higher for one of them. With Canelo jumping up two divisions to make this contest happen, he has received a great deal of respect for it. Boxing has become accustomed to weight jumping. Great fighters from a smaller weight class love to test their abilities against someone who is not only skilled, but also bigger and stronger.
Normally in the case of the smaller man, the pressure is off. Whether he is expected to win or not, he always has the “excuse” of going against a much bigger man. Let’s go back in time and take a look at both sides of the table in which the bigger and smaller man was expected to win.
Roughly 16 years ago, a prime Roy Jones Jr was absolutely running through his competition. Montell Griffin, Virgil Hill and even the great James Tony could do anything against Jones. Growing tired of no one giving him a good fight, Jones moved up to challenge then Heavyweight champion John Ruiz.
It was a contest that Jones was favored to win, but not without a serious fight on his hands. Most oddsmakers at the time of this contest had this bout roughly 2-1 in favor of Jones. By far the closest betting odds in his career up to that point. There was a reason for that. Ruiz may not have been the best Heavyweight in the world, but he still was in fact a Heavyweight. Jones would go on to win but a loss would not have been shocking in the slightest. He faced absolutely no pressure although he was widely regarded as the best fighter in the world at that time.
Let’s take a look at a more recent example.
Four division champion Mikey Garcia made a ton of headlines when he repeatedly called out the now unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. It was a head scratching move. Garcia was always viewed as one of the best fighters out there but was also considered entirely too small for Spence.
Unlike Jones Jr, Garcia was mostly viewed as having virtually no shot at winning the contest. When the two actually met in the ring, it was a mismatch as Spence won every single round. It may have been a one sided contest but rest assured, Spence was the one dealing with the pressure. The thought of the much smaller Garcia taking down arguably the most feared man in the division was unthinkable.
Now let’s fast forward to today.
The storylines surrounding Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev have been the same. The bigger man in Kovalev isn’t quite what he used to be, and nothing other than a victory for the smaller Canelo is to be expected.
Although this might be true to most, it is certainly hard to agree with.
Sergey Kovalev has been a Light Heavyweight champion twice over in his career and at one time was a pound for pound star as well. The argument can easily be made that once retires he will be a hall of famer. Even at the age of 36, Kovalev is still considered by most to be the best at the Light Heavyweight division.
Canelo is a great fighter, and a win for him is to be expected, but for Kovalev, having the advantage in just about every category outside of age, he can’t afford to let his smaller opponent come and make a name for himself in his division courtesy of his own. Many of you probably won’t agree, but the pressure is on Kovalev.
Sergey Kovalev Happy To “Be Following Instructions From Buddy McGirt”
By: Sean Crose
“We’ve addressed those issues.”
So said promoter Kathy Duva on a conference call to promote her fighter, Sergey Kovalev’s, November 2nd light heavyweight title defense against boxing’s biggest attraction, Canelo Alvarez. The Main Event Promotions’ honcho was referring to her fighter’s tendency to lose focus. “He let Ward back in the fight,” Duva said bluntly, referring to one of Kovalev’s two losses to Andre Ward. Now, however, Duva feels that the 34-3-1 Kovalev is beyond such errors – and she largely credits Kovalev’s trainer, Buddy McGirt, for the progress. In a sense, McGirt, a Hall of Famer and cornerman of note, was presented during the call as the secret behind the 37 year old Kovalev’s resurgence as a dominant force.
“Right now I have a great team with great coaches,” said Kovalev, who was on the call with Duva and McGirt. “I’m feeling comfortable in my team.” So comfortable that he’s pushing away fear of judge’s well known love for Canelo. “I will be following instructions from Buddy McGirt,” he responded simply when asked if he felt he had to go for a knockout on November 2nd. McGirt himself came across as more than pleased with his fighter’s progress. “I just think they picked the wrong veteran to mess with,” he said of Canelo’s team.
Should Kovalev pull off the upset against Canelo, his relationship with McGirt may reach the esteemed status of Manny Pacquiao’s with trainer Freddie Roach, or Canelo’s with the Reynoso’s. First, however, there’s the matter of Canelo and November 2nd. “I respect Canelo because he goes up two divisions,” Kovalev said. “He’s trying to make his history, but I’m here.” Yet, while Kovalev was quick to recognize Canelo’s attributes, he also added that the generally smaller man is “a guest in my division.” After winning back the WBO title from Eleider Alvarez last February, the Russian doesn’t intend to take a step back.
There were a few awkward moments on the call. For instance, Kovalev seemed to take umbrage when it was suggested he had problems taking shots to the body. “I never lose a fight by body shot,” he said in regards to his second fight with Ward. “It was a low blow!” Kovalev was also asked about the legal trouble he’s found himself in. “The truth of everything hasn’t come out yet,” Duva said on behalf of her fighter, “and we’ll leave it at that.”
Overall, however, the mood among team Kovalev seemed upbeat on Tuesday. It was indicated that Kovalev has returned to the fighter he should be, rather than the knockout artist of lore. McGirt recalled looking at old footage of Kovalev’s fights and telling Kovalev he had to go back to a more scientific style. “He said ‘I’m the Krusher,’” claimed McGirt. “I said now you’ve got to be the smart Krusher.’”
“He’s smarter,” he added of Kovalev, “than people give him credit for.”
Why is Sergey Kovalev Being Overlooked?
By: Hans Themistode
The entire world of boxing is patiently waiting the Light Heavyweight showdown between WBO belt holder Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) and current Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs). It is arguably the biggest fight of the year. The contest will be taking place on November 2nd, at the MGM arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This will certainly be a great fight, but something just doesn’t make any sense. The consensus around this fight is that Kovalev doesn’t have a chance. Sure, there are a few who believe the Russian born fighter has what it takes to pull off the upset but many aren’t expecting it. Why is that?
Well, Kovalev is 36 years of age compared to just 29 for Canelo. He also has been in his fair share of wars recently. Canelo might have more fights under his belt but there is no doubt that Kovalev has been in the more grueling matchups throughout his career. The Light Heavyweight champion’s inability to fight on the inside while also being soft to the body is viewed as a detriment in this contest.
Let’s also be honest. Kovalev isn’t the fighter he once was. His former trainer, John David Jackson views this as Kovalev’s “cashing out” fight. Meaning once he loses he’ll take the career high payday and fade away from the sport of boxing. These words that have been echoed by Jackson have been spewed by others, but just how true are they? Is the WBO Light Heavyweight champions chances of winning as microscopic as they are making it seem?
Kovalev has spent his entire ten year career at the Light Heavyweight division so of course he will be the naturally bigger man in this contest. He also won’t be intimidated by the moment. Canelo Alvarez is by far the biggest name in the sport of boxing today. Dealing with his skill inside the ring can be a difficult task but simply dealing with the occasion can be an arduous one as well.
Unlike many of Canelo’s opponents, Kovalev has been involved in plenty of big fights. Back to back fights against former champion Jean Pascal in his hometown of Montreal saw Kovalev come out victorious via stoppage both times. He also managed to beat future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins decisively when they matched up in 2014.
Of course Kovalev is most known for his consecutive defeats at the hands of all-time great fighter Andre Ward. Speaking of those losses to Ward, they were both highly controversial. In their first matchup Kovalev scored a second round knockdown and seemed to outbox Ward throughout the duration of the contest. Unfortunately for Kovalev, he wasn’t given the decision.
The second matchup once again saw Kovalev out boxing Ward until he was stopped due to body punches. In all fairness to Kovalev it seemed like an unfair stoppage as Ward’s punches appeared to be low. Still, the loss isn’t the important part, it was the occasion. Kovalev fought the best fighter at the moment and was not overwhelmed.
For those who are saying Kovalev hasn’t been the same since those losses might want to rethink that notion.
In 2018, Kovalev was brutally knocked out against Eleider Alvarez. Six months later, Kovalev won the immediate rematch. How about his last contest? He faced a much younger and fresher fighter in Anthony Yarde. It was ostensible that Kovalev was dominating the contest. In round eight however, Kovalev was badly hurt. He some how found a way to make it out of the round and subsequently stopped Yarde in the eleventh.
So what does all of this mean? That’s simple. Kovalev isn’t coming into this contest to collect a check and lay down.
“I don’t get in the ring to lose,” said Kovalev. “Why come to the ring if you are going to lose? My mental is not ready for this.”
Doubt Kovalev if you want but he has shown time and time again that he can and will raise his game to the highest levels.
Sergey Kovalev’s Former Trainer John David Jackson Breaks Down Canelo Alvarez Fight
By: Hans Themistode
With the news of current Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) deciding to move up in weight and challenge WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), it has left everyone with an opinion.
Giving a full breakdown of this fight is a difficult one. Canelo has never campaigned at the Light Heavyweight division. How will his body hold up now that he has decided to move up not one, but two divisions? With that being said, Kovalev has been in several wars as of late, Canelo could be catching the current champion at just the right time.
One man who has his own opinions on this contest is former trainer of Kovalev, John David Jackson. He and Kovalev had a successful run together before parting ways back in 2017. Kovalev may not be the fighter he once was but he is sill a hand full for anyone.
“It’s still a bit of a risk,” said Jackson. “The last thing that will leave Kovalev is his punch and he can box when he wants to.”
Make no mistake about it, this is a dangerous fight for Canelo as he will have a four inch height and two inch reach disadvantage. Still, even with those advantages for Kovalev, Jackson see’s an avenue that Canelo could take to victory.
“Canelo and his team are smart so they’ll look too close that distance as soon as possible because Kovalev has a good jab. If they don’t then they’ll be in trouble. Once Canelo gets inside than its going to be trouble for Kovalev. If you watch him closely he doesn’t really have an inside game. Kovalev really has a hard time keeping guys off of him. His body is weak. Whenever you see a guy drinking after a fight than you know he has a problem. Canelo is a very good body puncher. Even the young kid Yarde was going to the body well but he just got caught. At this stage in Kovalev’s career, it’s hard to teach a guy with just one training camp how to fight on the inside. Once Canelo gets in close it’ll cause a lot of problems for Kovalev.”
When the news of this fight taking place broke, it wasn’t surprising to anyone. What was a shock however, was that there is no weight clauses. Even Jackson was a bit stunned by it but he also acknowledged that Canelo is a fighter who doesn’t need or want those advantages.
“A lot of guys in the history of boxing have jumped up and down in weight, but they would typically have weight clauses. What that does is, it helps the smaller fighter who is coming up. With Canelo he’ll fight you at your weight. You have to give him a lot of credit for that.”
As for who Jackson expects to win this contest, he was slightly hesitant, but he anticipates Canelo to be successful in his endeavorers at the Light Heavyweight division.
“I think it’s a tough matchup for Canelo but I think he’ll pull it off. Sergey is older, his life outside of boxing is terrible, he’s been in a lot of wars and he doesn’t seem like he is as passionate and hungry anymore. I think this fight is his cashing out fight.”
Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev: Who Should Be the Favorite?
By: Hans Themistode
WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) had a ton of pressure on his shoulders this past weekend. It seems strange to say that about a man who has fought in several big fights and is considered by most to be the best Light Heavyweight fighter. Still, on August 24th, 2019, the pressure was at an all-time high.
Kovalev was fighting in his hometown of Chelyabinsk Russia and defending his title against the then undefeated British contender Anthony Yarde. Homecoming bouts have always induced added pressure on fighters, but this particular one was even more so.
The Fighter nicknamed “Krusher” wasn’t just fighting to keep his title while impressing his hometown fans, but he was also looking to secure a bout with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez. A loss for Kovalev would have seen him not only lose his title, but also a career high payday against the aforementioned Alvarez.
The tension might have been high but you could not tell by watching Kovalev perform on Saturday night. To sum up Kovalev’s night would be simple. He looked sensational. He did have a bit of a scare in the eighth round where he took several hard shots and was nearly stopped. Other than that however, he looked great in scoring an 11th round knockout victory.
Now that his test against Yarde is behind him, he is seemingly inline for a much more difficult one against Alvarez.
Even with Kovalev possessing the height and reach advantages as well as a major edge in terms of weight as Alvarez will be moving up two divisions to make this contest happen, the favorite going into this contest is unclear.
There is no secret that Alvarez is the biggest star that boxing has to offer. With over 50 wins, world titles in three weight classes and wins over some of the biggest names that the sport has ever seen including Shane Mosley, Gennady Golovkin and Miguel Cotto, it is easy to see why Alvarez is such a fan favorite fighter.
The argument can be made that Alvarez would be the favorite against anyone in his natural weight division, Middleweight. His foray into the Light Heavyweight division however would be another story entirely. Giving up four inches in height as well as two inches in reach won’t be easy to overcome. On fight night, Alvarez could easily be outweighed by roughly 15-20 pounds as well. These disadvantages would lead everyone to believe that his match against Kovalev would see him as an underdog. Think again.
Although Kovalev is a terrific fighter, it seems as though his age, 36, is catching up with him. Knockout losses at the hands of both Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez have proven that he isn’t quite the same fighter he once was.
Gone are the days of Kovalev simply running through his opponents and scoring quick knockouts. Instead, he seems content in outboxing his opponents. Yet in his previous contest against Anthony Yarde, he proved that he still has plenty of power as he stopped his man in the eleventh round.
Kovalev may not be the same fighter he once was but, make no mistake about it, he will be the most dangerous fighter Alvarez has ever faced.
The current WBO Light Heavyweight champion should certainly be favored going into this contest, but Alvarez has all of the tolls to get the job done.
Kovalev Stops Yarde in the 11th in Russia
By: William Holmes
Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1) defended his WBO Light Heavyweight Title against Anthony Yarde (18-0) in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia on ESPN+.
Top Rank Promotions has teamed up with Main Event Promotions to televise this card on ESPN+. The undercard featured a thrilling majority decision win by Illunga Makabu over the very game Aleksei Papin.
Fight fans were expecting a knockout in this fight, as a young challenger that had stopped every opponent but one and was facing a champion already known for his devastating power. This event was sold out with an announced attendance of 7,500.
Yarde entered the ring first to a muted pop, while Kovalev entered second and was warmly greeted by the crowd. Kovalev had Buddy McGirt in his corner.
The openin round was a little slow, but both boxers appeared to be in good shape and were gauging their distance with jabs and check left hooks. Yarde had some success with his counter left hooks, but neither had any notable offense.
Kovalev began to land his jabs at a higher rate in the second and third rounds, but didn’t have Yarde hurt at any point. Kovalev had a strong fourth round and was landing some power punches and began to wake up the crowd.
Kovalev’s jabs were snapping the head of Yarde in the fifth round, and had outlanded him 42 to 14 jabs by this point. Kovalev continued to walk down Yarde in the sixth round, who at one point spit out his mouthpiece as he was visibly tiring.
Yarde was able to land a few good shots in the sixth and seventh rounds, but he opened himself up to Kovalev’s more accurate counter punches whenever he opened up and took a risk. Yarde’s body work did appear to hurt Kovalev in the seventh round.
Yarde pressed forward in the eighth round and was landing to the body and head of Kovalev. Kovalev was warned by the referee to stop pushing with his elbow, and both boxers landed good punches during some fierce exchanges. However, Yarde appeared to be comfortable with handling the power of Kovalev and had him hurt bad with a hard right hand. Kovalev was back peddling for the remainder of the round and struggled to stay up, but was able to survive the round.
Kovalev was badly hurt in the eighth, but came back strong in the ninth round with accurate combinations in the middle of the ring that swung momentum back in his favor.
Kovalev pummeled Yarde from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and had Yarde covering up most of the time. Yarde likely needed a stoppage in the final two rounds to win the fight, and he went after Kovalev to try to get that win. But a vicious straight left jab from Kovalev sent Yarde crashing to the mat and unable to get up to his feet.
Sergey Kovalev wins by TKO at 2:04 of the eleventh round.
Sergey Kovalev’s Last Shot For a Big Fight
By: Hans Themistode
It feels as though WBO Light Heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev, has been around for ages. 2019, marks year ten for the fighter nicknamed “Krusher”.
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) has done more than enough to live up to the hype that his alias has provided.
For years, Kovalev has been a consistent force in the division. He is now in the midst of his second title reign and has beaten a who’s who of fighters along the way.
Former champion Nathan Cleverly, future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins, multiple time champion Jean Pascal and most recently, former champion Eleider Alvarez have all fell victim to Kovalev.
That list of names is impressive but not quite eye catching. Cleverly was never on the level of Kovalev. Hopkins, although an all-time great fighter was nearly 50 years old when they fought. Jean Pascal has seen better days, and Eleider Alvarez is an unknown commodity. This is to take nothing away from the accomplishments of Kovalev, but, he is still in search of his signature win.
On November 19th, 2016, he nearly had it.
On that night Kovalev found himself standing across the ring from a legitimate great fighter that was still in the middle of his prime. That fighter of course, was Andre Ward. The consensus pound-for-pound number one fighter in the world at that time.
Kovalev came and showed out, as he dropped Ward in the second round and seemed to outbox him for most of the match. It was to the surprise of many when it was announced that Ward pulled off the win. Most who watched that contest had Kovalev winning comfortably.
Though it wasn’t a popular decision, it was an opportunity that slipped through the fingers of Kovalev. His chance to gain the biggest win of his career had gone by the wayside. Most fighters aren’t given another opportunity, but Kovalev was afforded an immediate rematch.
Part two of Kovalev vs Ward played out similarly to part one. Kovalev was outboxing who many believed was the best boxer in the world. All Kovalev needed to do was stay upright and the signature win he had long been looking for would be his. Those dreams were crushed in the eighth round as Ward went down to the body on multiple occasions and seemingly hurt his man. The referee stepped in shortly after to call an end to the bout.
Kovalev of course, was unhappy with the decision. Claiming that he was hit with repeated low blows. Replays after the contest seemingly agreed with his sentiments. Still, it was another loss on the record of Kovalev and another opportunity that passed him by.
Thoughts of Kovalev being past his prime were quickly dismissed as he picked up wins over Igor Mikhalkin, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Eleider Alvarez. The latter coming via rematch as Kovalev was stopped in the first contest.
At 36, Kovalev does not have much time left in the sport of boxing. Retirement could very well result in Kovalev being inducted into the boxing hall of fame in the very near future. Still, that isn’t enough for the Light Heavyweight champion. He is still in search of a big win. One that eluded him in his matchups with Ward.
It seems as though Kovalev will never get his chance to star on the big stage once again. Or at least, that is what it seemed.
On August 24th, Kovalev will defend his title against the undefeated Anthony Yarde in his hometown of Russia. Should Kovalev win that contest, he will get his wish for a big fight.
Three division world champion and current Middleweight title holder Canelo Alvarez has his eyes fixated on Kovalev. Alvarez would effectively be moving up two weight divisions in order to make the contest happen.
This is the exact opportunity that Kovalev has been longing for. A win over Alvarez would present Kovalev with the biggest win of his career by far.
With the mark of his two failures still fresh on his mind, there is no doubt that Kovalev wants to erase those memories.
Alvarez is the biggest star in all of boxing. A matchup between the two would draw millions to the television screen across the world.
First things first however. Kovalev must defeat Yarde. It won’t be easy task but, with the biggest fight of his life just around the corner, Kovalev can’t afford to slip up now.
Sergey Kovalev Isn’t Done Just Yet
By: Hans Themistode
A shell of himself.
Over the past few months Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) has heard all of those words and a few that have been much harsher. Who can really blame them? Ever since Kovalev lost to now retired future hall of famer Andre Ward by knockout he just didn’t seem like his normal self. Sure following that defeat he went on to win his next two fights by knockout, he even managed to win back one his titles that he lost to Ward in the process but still something just didn’t seem right.
Kovalev once had an aura of invincibility. He wasn’t just beating very good fighters he was flat out dominating them. An undefeated Nathan Cleverly was stopped in four rounds. Jean Pascal who had been known for having a granite chin was stopped not once but twice by Kovalev. Even the legendary Bernard Hopkins was dominated when they matched up back in 2014. When Kovalev stepped in to the ring with Ward and ultimately lost both contests it wasn’t an indictment on Kovalev, after all Andre Ward is one of the best to ever step foot in the ring but that aura that he once had took a major dent.
Kovalev lost a piece of himself in those defeats. That thought process rang true when Kovalev was knocked down three times and subsequently stopped in the seventh round last year in his match against Eleider Alvarez (24-1, 12 KOs). Before the stoppage win Kovalev was winning on the scorecards but Alvarez would not be denied as he simply bullied Kovalev on his way to victory while snatching away Kovalev’s WBO Light Heavyweight title in the process. Instead of simply accepting that defeat Kovalev wanted an immediate rematch. We all knew what was going to happen next. Kovalev was going to suffer a vicious beating at the hands of Alvarez and be relegated to the bottom of the division.
It seems as though he didn’t get the memo. Kovalev put on one of the very best performances in his career by boxing circles around Alvarez enroute to a unanimous decision victory this past Saturday night. It was a masterful performance. Kovalev has collected victories over tougher foes in his career, however this past Saturday night he not only had to deal with a dangerous, younger and more fresher opponent but he also had to battle himself as well.
During the entire build up of his fight he told everyone that would listen that what happened in his first fight with Alvarez was a “mistake” and that he has “improved.” Few believed him and even fewer picked him to win the fight. He made them all look foolish. Kovalev is known for his punching power and maybe to some degree relied on it too much in the past. This past Saturday night he proved that he is much more than a one trick pony.
The Light Heavyweight division has a ton of talent. Current undefeated champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol and Oleksandr Gvozdyk are at the top of the charts. Before Saturday nights win Kovalev was just an after thought. A blimp on the radar. A non threat. Now? He has forced himself back in to the top of the division. Kovalev is getting a bit long in the tooth at 35 years of age but he still has plenty left in the tank.
This Saturday night proved that he isn’t done just yet.
Boxing Insider Interview with Kathy Duva: “So Much Opportunity for Elite Fighters”
By: Henry Deleon
During the Sullivan Barrera vs. Seanie Monaghan media workout at the Mendez Boxing club in NYC, Boxing Insider had the pleasure of interviewing the CEO of Main Events Promotion, Kathy Duva.
Boxing Insider – Boxing insider here with Kathy Duva. Kathy, what is your opinion on HBO no longer televising boxing?
Kathy Duva – Oh I feel like it’s a death! It’s been 45 years! longer than I’ve been in the sport and they’re aren’t too many things that have been in the sport longer than me. I’m really going to miss it.
Boxing Insider – Do you feel that with HBO getting out of the picture, is it going to have a huge impact on boxing how is being televised?
Kathy Duva – I think it’s happening already. When boxing went to HBO, all the big fights started going there. The other networks lost interest because they couldn’t compete. But now you can see them on ESPN they’re already out there. FOX is already out there and there may be others coming up soon too, you never know.
Boxing Insider – Rumor is that the Kovalev vs. Alvarez rematch is set to be on ESPN, is this true?
Kathy Duva – That is true. It’s going to be on ESPN February 2nd, 2019
Boxing Insider – How did you feel with the results of Kovalev’s last fight against Eleider Alvarez?
Kathy Duva – Obviously I was not too happy. I think we saw this happening in the Ward fights. He got so tired, first of all Ward’s people did an amazing job of getting into his head, It was like watching a master class and I think I learned from it. Sergey was convinced that you had to try harder and work harder, because you know you’re a guy who like to party and have fun, and the worst thing for a guy who’s in his mid 30’s to do is to try and work harder because when you get older you have to work smarter not harder. Unfortunately, Sergey being Sergey just did not believe that. As he got tired, he would just continue to work harder and all he did was set himself up so that he runs out of gas. So now you have a guy who is 35 and is trying to fight and train like he’s 25. He needs to learn to train and fight like he is 35 and he’s doing that now with Buddy McGirt. He has made some changes to his training regime and hopefully it will all work out.
Boxing Insider – So what you’re saying is we are going to see a different Kovalev come this rematch?
Kathy Duva – yeah, you know Buddy is the guy who brought back Arturo Gatti and responsible for the incredible resurgence at the back of his career. Buddy knows what to do with an old fighter, and Sergey at his age has to start fighting like an old fighter which is not something negative. Some of the greatest fights you’ve ever seen involved guys who have that experience and are now challenged in the sense that they don’t have the stamina they once did when they were younger. All that plays into a guy who is a really dominant fighter suddenly getting into fights that are very competitive. So, I believe we are going to see that and in the end the fans are going to be very entertained.
Boxing Insider – So coming into this rematch, do you feel Sergey will have a different outcome?
Kathy Duva – you know Sergey won 5 out of the 7 rounds. He is by far the better fighter. The problem was that he ran out of gas after the 6th round. I remember leaning over to Sergey’s manager before the 5th round and said “I don’t know how he’s going to keep up this pace, what is he doing?”. Sergey’s going to have to learn to beat Alvarez at a slower pace and he is going to have to learn to train in a way in where he doesn’t leave it all in the gym. If he does those things he’s going to win, and if he doesn’t do those things he’s going to lose. That’s what’s going to make this fight very interesting.
Boxing Insider – What is your opinion on what Eddie Hearn and DAZN are doing for boxing?
Kathy Duva – You have people who want to invest in boxing. It’s a great time to be an elite fighter, so much opportunity for elite fighters. How can one be opposed to that, it’s terrific!
Boxing Insider – What’s your take on Saturdays main event between Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan?
Kathy Duva – This is a terrific fight! This is the greater fight that isn’t happening in places like DAZN, ESPN, or FOX. You’re looking at high level elite fighter, fighters who are world title fighters. If you look at the history of our sport, and I did the other day. I looked at all the “fight of the year” fights and what I found, dating back to 1922, is how rarely the “fight of the year” is one of the “BIG” fights. Its usually a fight like this. Look at when Gatti and Ward fought, you had two guys who people considered to be on the downside of their career and look at what they did! This is one of those fights, now I will never say a fight will be as good as Gatti and Ward, but what I am saying is that you have the same dynamic in fight with Barrera vs. Monaghan. I think if our sport is missing anything right now, its fights like these.
Boxing Insider – Is there any other up and coming fighters under your promotion that you want fans to keep an eye out for?
Kathy Duva – We actually have quite a few. Some of them you will see on Saturday, others you will see in the upcoming months. Leshawn Rodriguez (9-0 7KO) unfortunately had to pull out due to an injury but he’s a terrific fighter. Cassius Chaney (13-0 6KO) is a terrific heavy weight fighter. We just signed Denis Douglin (21-6 13KO) he’s one of those guys who has a lot going for him. He took some bad advice on a fight once and suddenly his career was going to waste, but no we are going to make a career for him. We have Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0 6 KO), Meriim Nursultanov (8-0 5KO), Enriko Gogokhia (8-0 3KO) and Frank Galarza (20-2-2 12KO). We have a lot of really talented young fighters who are going to be the next generation of people you hear about. We to say this last big group of the Pacquiao’s, the Mayweather’s, the Klitschko’s they all lasted beyond the prime of fighters of generations past because we know more about nutrition, and training. They’ve extended their athletic careers so, it’s been a while since a new crowd has come along and took over. I believe this is going to be the beginning of that and I hope that the people I just mentioned and a few others are going to be in the vanguard of that and I look forward to being part of it.
Boxing Insider – Thank you so much Kathy. Wishing you all the best.
Kathy Duva has over 38 years of experience in the business of professional boxing and is the CEO of Main Events promotions. Kathy has helped promote many legendary careers such as Evander Holyfield, Fernando Vargas, Vinnie Pazienza, Lennox Lewis and many more.
Tune in Saturday Nov 3rd for Sullivan vs. Monaghan live globally on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page beginning at 6:00 p.m. PT/ 9:00 p.m. ET.
Kell Brook Stops Rabchenko Early
By: Ste Rowen
In Sheffield, on Saturday night Kell Brook impressively marked his return to the ring since May 2017, by making light work of Belarussian, Sergey Rabchenko, stopping him in the second round.
Kell stepped on the gas from the first round, looking to take the centre of the ring and, whilst Rabchenko seemed game, the Sheffield native was clearly the superior boxer. With 1:52 left of the second round, Brook landed a beautiful right-hand uppercut, visibly shaking his opponent which set up the finisher, as Kell followed up with another big right hand, sending Sergey to the canvas, and keeping him there for the count.
So, the former IBF welterweight champion moves to 37-2 (26KOs), speaking to Sky Sports post-fight, Kell seemed more determined than ever to state his claim as one of Britain’s best, and without naming names, Brook made a call out to the rest of the 154lb division,
‘You thought you got rid of me. I’m putting everyone on notice. I’m the terminator and I’ll be back… Another win. I’m putting everyone on notice, I’m here to stay.’
Jermell Charlo called out Brook via Twitter on Friday as a possible June opponent, but there was no mention of the WBC champion after Brooks return to winning ways, the focus, from promoter Eddie Hearn, seemed to solely be on setting up a fight with fellow Brit, Amir Khan,
‘There aren’t the big names in the division at 154lb, well guess what? There is now… Kell Brook has passed the test. Amir Khan has got to pass the test April 21st, Kell will be ringside for that as well.’
‘Kell wants to fight in June. Back to the gym on Monday. Let’s get busy, let’s make up for lost time.’
Arguably fight of the night, on an underwhelming undercard, was Gavin McDonnell’s unanimous decision victory over Gamal Yafai. Gamal, was unbeaten (14-0) going into the bout but as the rounds drew on, experience was king as McDonnell, now 19-1 (5KOs), began to dominate after the early rounds and there was no question over who had won when the final bell went.
McDonnell, whose only defeat came at the hands of WBC super-bantamweight champion, Rey Vargas, seemed ready again to talk about challenging at the top level of his division,
‘If I was to lose tonight it would have killed me. I knew my career was on the line…I just want big fights and as long as I’m moving in the right direction, a world title will come.’
Hoping to avenge his May 2017 defeat to Lenroy Thomas, and fighting in running shoes, Dave Allen left the Sheffield Arena disappointed after an accidental clash of heads in the first round put an end to the rematch. Allen was stalking the Commonwealth champion early when, with 44 seconds left of the first round, the two butted heads as Thomas landed an uppercut. The referee immediately called a timeout as the blood came pouring from a deep cut above the ‘Doncaster De La Hoya’s’ right eye, and minutes later put an end to the bout, calling a technical draw.
One of the early bouts of the card saw super middleweight, Rocky Fielding, 26-1 (14KOs) dominate Czech journeyman, Karel Horejsek over 8 rounds. Post-fight Eddie Hearn revealed that Fielding, most likely due to his first-round stoppage of David Brophy in September, had managed to manoeuvre his way up the rankings and into a shot at WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez,
‘We’ve been in talks this week. It looks like it will take place in June, we’re just working on the deal now, it’s quite close…The matchup would likely take place stateside and as long as the deal is right, we will accept the fight.’
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…