As I wrote yesterday, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward will meet this Saturday to decide who will hold three of the four Light-Heavyweight titles (WBA, IBF and WBO), and who is the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the world.
I have been watching past fights of these gentleman and picked out a couple of favourites, starting with the champion Sergey Kovalev.
Nathan Cleverly vs Sergey Kovalev for the WBO Light-Heavyweight Title, Cardiff, August 17th 2013.
In another battle between undefeated fighters, Kovalev took on WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0). Cleverly, a clever and ambitious fighter, perhaps thought Kovalev was just a puncher who could be out thought over twelve rounds, Kovalev proved him wrong in devastating fashion.
Kovalev, surprising most at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, took the first two rounds with fast paced boxing, showing little regard for Cleverly’s abilities. Then in the third, he wobbled Cleverly with a left and dropped him with a right. Cleverly went down again under a barrage with twenty seconds left in the round, and just managed to survive the round.
The damage had been done though, Cleverly was out in the corner but was let out for the fourth round, which lasted all of twenty five seconds as Kovalev maintained his attack. In nine minutes and twenty five seconds, Wales’ successor to Joe Calzaghe had been pummelled and Sergey Kovalev announced himself to the world.
Sergey Kovalev vs Bernard Hopkins for the WBA, IBF and WBO Light-Heavyweight Titles, Atlantic City, November 8th 2014.
Fifteen months after his victory over Cleverly, Kovalev took on the iconic Bernard Hopkins at the equally iconic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Hopkins was WBA and IBF champion at the astonishing age of forty nine, defying time by ensuring fights would be fought his way at his speed. As was pointed out by the HBO commentary team, before this fight Kovalev had never been past round 8. Such was the respect for Hopkins, there was a sense that he might lure Kovalev into the later rounds and pick him apart.
Kovalev though, fought an exceptionally intelligent fight. He fought at a slower pace than usual, but still too fast for the veteran Hopkins. Kovalev kept him under pressure at all times, dropping the legend in round 1 and peppering him with hard shots. Hopkins did not have the time that previous opponents had given him, leading him to merely surviving round by round.
All was not quite well though, Kovalev still did tire, and did seem to be hurt by Hopkins in round 12, but he still won an easy shut out decision. Kovalev is not just a straight forward puncher then, he can box well and has displayed good ring generalship against fellow intelligent fighters.