Kovalev Slaughters Mikhalkin

By Robert Ecksel on March 4, 2018
Kovalev Slaughters Mikhalkin
He hits hard. He has fast hands. He has a high ring IQ. He smelled blood. (HBO Boxing)

It was gratifying to see him back in the ring with his confidence intact after suffering back-to-back losses to Andre Ward…

Saturday night at The Theater in New York’s Madison Square Garden, in a fight televised live on HBO Championship Boxing, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs), the Comeback Kid from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, by way of Kopeysk, Russia, successfully defended his title by stopping light-hitting southpaw Igor Mikhalkin (21-2, 9 KOs), from Hamburg, Germany, by way of Irkutsk, Russia, on a cut at 2:25 of the seventh round.

Kovalev, fighting out of the red corner in black trunks, fought as well as he ever has fought. He hits hard. His hands are fast. He has a high ring IQ. He smelled blood. And it was good to see him back in the ring with his confidence intact after suffering back-to-back losses to Andre Ward.

Mikhalkin, fighting out of the blue corner in silver trunks, is a former amateur teammate of Kovalev and it showed. He has skills and is an appealing ring presence. But he lacks the power, and perhaps the killer instinct to keep a monster like Kovalev off him for long.

The challenger caught Kovalev several times, but the champ just shook it off. Kovalev drew first blood in the sixth from a cut below Mikhalkin’s eye. The fight was stopped a round later when the bleeding grew profuse.

“It was better work for sure than the last fight,” said Kovalev after the bout. “This might maybe have looked easy, but it definitely was not. He doesn’t hit the hardest, but I could feel his punches and he has a lot of movement and he is a great boxer.”

Mikhalkin is a fine boxer. He is comfortable in the ring. He would have probably been even more comfortable had Kovalev stopped hitting him.

However well Mikhalkin perormed under the circumstances, he won just a single round on one judge’s scorecard.

Kovalev needs better opposition. Saturday night’s fight was a mismatch plain and simple, a foregone conclusion proving nothing other than boxing can be as dull as life.

Insofar as counter-programming goes between HBO and its competitor Showtime, who was televising Deontay Wilder’s dramatic decapitation of Luis Ortiz, it wasn’t even close.

When asked about his future plans, Kovalev displayed some fancy footwork.

“I’m always ready for a big money fight,” he said. “I read on the internet that the Badou Jack fight would be a big fight—if he beats [Adonis] Stevenson.”

Andre Ward, who recently said “never say never” when asked about returning to active duty, hinted about his possible availability for a fight with Kovalev in the not too distant future. But even the mention of Ward douses the fire—which is perhaps as it should.

“I don’t think about that right now,” Kovalev said. “I just want to do what the fans want to see and I love boxing.”

Boxing is easy to love, especially when one wins, especially when one outlands his opponent 186-43 in total punches.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Fight highlights: Sergey Kovalev vs. Igor Mikhalkin (HBO World Championship Boxing)



Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles

Comments

This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Balaamsass 04:09pm, 03/04/2018

    Sez he needs more practice with lefties….now he tells us….second tier lefties that is. Wants Badou is he beats Stevenson…..didn’t say squat about lefty Adonis if he won! The pimp would have KOd him last night!

  2. Pete The Sneak 08:00am, 03/04/2018

    “Kovalev needs better opposition. Saturday night’s fight was a mismatch plain and simple, a foregone conclusion proving nothing other than boxing can be as dull as life.”...Robert, my thoughts exactly. No disrespect to Mikhalkin, but these are just sparring sessions/confidence builders for Kovalev after his disastrous losses to Ward. Kind of reminds me of when George Foreman fought 5 guys in one night to show the world that he was still the man after his loss to Ali. Same thing with Kovalev, except he’s fighting one every month. Time to step it up Krusher…Peace.

Leave a comment