By Wilmar Patino:
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 30-0-1 (26 KO’s) has gone from a relatively unknown Russian fighter to a legit pound for pound star. He had a respectable amateur career, and turned pro in 2009 winning his first fight by round 1 TKO. Since then it has been a long and narrow road to Light Heavyweight supremacy. After fighting over a dozen fights for free, Sergey Kovalev was given an opportunity to be signed and promoted by Kathy Duva of Main Events. After Kovalev’s manager asked her to give him a chance, Kathy agreed and began their working relationship by having Kovalev rematch Darnell Boone. Boone gave Kovalev problems in their first match up as Kovalev eked out a split decision win. Sergey Kovalev would go on to Knock Darnell Boone out in the 2nd round of their rematch. Impressing Duva and beginning a monstrous path to world title fights. The rest is history, so leading into the weeks of Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward 30-0 (15 KO’s) I thought it would be fitting to take a look back at Sergey Kovalev’s top 5 fights.
5. Sergey Kovalev vs Gabriel Campillo – This marked the first test of Sergey Kovalev’s career facing the former light heavyweight champion Gabriel Campillo. Campillo was coming off of some controversial losses where many people thought Campillo could have been given the nod in close fights. Yet Campillo showed little resistance against Kovalev as Kovalev went on to break him down throughout the fight. This was a rather impressive night for Kovalev due to it being televised and a great display of his skills, ring generalship, and power. Kovalev finished Campillo off in the 3 round with some brutal combinations.
4. Sergey Kovalev vs Nathan Cleverly – Just as Kathy Duva promised, Sergey Kovalev got his title shot when he faced Nathan Cleverly for the WBO Light Heavyweight championship of the world. This was the beginning of Kovalev’s rise to fame with HBO. Sergey Kovalev traveled to Cardiff, Whales, United Kingdom to face Nathan Cleverly, who was the undefeated champion. Nathan Cleverly showed some resistance in the early going, but soon it was clear that Sergey Kovalev’s power and skill was too much for Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev dispatched of Cleverly rather easily in just 4 rounds.
3. Sergey Kovalev vs Cedric Agnew – Coming into the fight Sergey Kovalev had already beaten Nathan Cleverly for the WBO strap. Cedric Agnew came in undefeated and game for the challenge ahead. Kovalev suffered his first cut by an accidental head butt in the middle rounds. This seemed to have motivated Kovalev as he proceeded to lay a beat down on Cedric Agnew until the fight came to a stop from a body shot in round 7. This also marked the first time Kovalev was taken past the 4th round.
2. Sergey Kovalev vs Bernard Hopkins – After suffering a knockdown in Kovalev’s previous fight with Blake Caparello, Bernard Hopkins jumped at the opportunity of facing another young hungry lion who looked somewhat vulnerable in the first round of his previous fight. Hopkins was defending his WBA and IBF straps in a unification fight, while Kovalev was defending his WBO title for the 4th time. On this night Kovalev surprised Hopkins and fans in the arena with a 1st round Knockdown of the legend. From then on Kovalev proved to himself and many spectators that he has world class skills and power. Shockingly going the full 12 rounds and winning every minute of the fight. Kovalev would beat Hopkins in a unanimous decision to unify 3 of the 4 major world titles. Adonis Stevenson having the 4th (WBC), but that’s another story in itself.
1. Segey Kovalev vs Pascal 1 – After talks of negotiating a fight with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson fell through, team Kovalev looked elsewhere and fought the next best opponent in the division by taking on the former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal. This fight would be Kovalev’s next step to superstardom. Pascal proved to be a worth foe by hitting Kovalev cleaner and more frequently than we have ever seen in the past. Kovalev seemed a bit anxious to end the fight early but was dragged into a battle of wills. Pascal could only take so much punishment as the fight progressed, and the ref had the fight stopped in the 8th round with Pascal’s face badly beaten. Kovalev successfully defended his titles at the challengers home town as he grown accustomed to doing, and talks of Kovalev vs Ward slowly crept in. The rematch would turn out to be one sided, but the first fight proved to be Sergey Kovalev’s top fight in his career thus far.
As fight night approaches make sure to come back to smackhisface.com for more updates on Kovalev vs Ward!