Kovalev’s Date with Fantasy

By Ted Sares on August 16, 2013
Kovalev’s Date with Fantasy
The Russian has duked only 57 rounds and has an impressive KO percentage of 86.83%.

On Saturday night, slick Nathan Cleverly takes on power puncher Sergey Kovalev in a classic and highly anticipated boxer vs. puncher matchup…

“Kovalev has had a dozen fights since that [first] meeting with Boone and has showed steady improvement, although it’s apparent he’s still overly reliant on his punching power, which is a trait of a lot of knockout artists.”—David Oakes (BLH)

“Sergey Kovalev has been building an underground reputation as one of the most dangerous finishers in the light heavyweight division.”—Brian Campbell (ESPN.com)

“True, I have not been more than eight rounds because everybody has fallen when I have hit them.”—Sergey Kovalev

‘It’s simple. If he (Cleverly) wins he winds up with a contract with HBO, which means big paydays, so he has everything to gain from this one and he knows how important it is.”—Frank Warren

On Saturday night, slick Nathan Cleverly (26-0) takes on power puncher Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1) in a classic and highly anticipated boxer vs. puncher matchup in Cardiff, Wales. Cleverly’s WBO light heavyweight title will be at stake.

Cleverly has fought 171 rounds reflecting his lack of KO power while the Russian had duked only 57 and has an impressive KO percentage of 86.83%. He is known for flooring his opponents multiple times—Cornelius White was down thrice, Gabriel Campillo hit the canvas thrice, Julius Fogle was floored twice, Dallas Vargas was down twice, Kia Daniels was decked twice, and Harley Killian visited the canvas six times in two rounds.

The Russian is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his three-round dismantling of former world champion Campillo gave him name recognition to American audiences as the world’s most dangerous light-heavyweight. Many thought Campillo would win, but the Russian obliterated the Spaniard with a blitz-like attack punctuated by blistering right hands. His most recent destruction over hot prospect Cornelius White was his 19th win by stoppage of his 22-fight career.

However, it was his SD against Darnell Boone in 2010 that exposed a weakness to wit: If Sergey doesn’t get his man out of there early, he tends to get frustrated and shows some stamina issues. However, the Krusher did crush Boone in two rounds in a 2012 rematch.

If the ring-savvy Cleverly can withstand Kovalev’s predictably early blitz, he will have an excellent chance to win. With his movement and speed and his ability to counter, Nathan could frustrate the Russian bomber and win going down the stretch if he keeps focused on his fight plan. Cleverly also uses sharp body shots to slow his opponents down. On the other hand, his heretofore iron chin has never been tested by the likes of Kovalev and if Nathan gets hit flush, all outstanding issues could be resolved just like that.

This one is too close to call, but whoever wins will get a nice payday because he likely will fight he winner of the Adonis Stevenson-Tavoris Cloud fight on September 28 in Montreal (which WILL be Stevenson). From a fan’s perspective, I want it to be Kovalev because the possibility of a Stevenson- Kovalev fight is like a boxing fantasy come true.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Ted 05:10pm, 08/17/2013

    three more knockdowns in The Krusher’s astonishing number so far.

  2. Koolz 02:18pm, 08/17/2013

    Great Performance from Kovalev The result was obvious from the first round.

    Kovalev just such accurate punching and great balance!

  3. Ted 07:02pm, 08/16/2013

    Just saw Splika-Mollo rematch . Holy shit!

  4. peter silkov 04:44pm, 08/16/2013

    I think if Cleverly keeps his head and used his speed and boxing skills, then he can win a tough fight on points…

  5. Koolz 04:36pm, 08/16/2013

    I don’t think Cleverly can beat Kovalev I think Kovalev KO’s him.

    And here my favorite Soccer player from last year at Tottenham is saying Cleverly will win…

  6. Tex Hassler 02:06pm, 08/16/2013

    This fight should reveal where Kovalev is in his development as a fighter. Fighting men who are not top level fighters can produce an unbeaten record and Cleverly may expose that.

  7. Ted 12:18pm, 08/16/2013

    Thanks, Matt. Yes indeed this one is hard to pick. Lots of variables.

  8. Matt Mosley 12:04pm, 08/16/2013

    Nice preview Ted.
    Nice and succinct (just how I like them, yet covering all angles.
    I think you summed it up well.
    Could go either way, this one.

  9. Ted 10:39am, 08/16/2013

    Koolz, Lomachenko might be.

  10. The Krusher 09:58am, 08/16/2013

    Look, any guy named the KRUSHER I gotta like.

  11. Don from Prov 09:41am, 08/16/2013

    Simple: This fight = a whole lot of potential to be very very good

  12. Koolz 09:09am, 08/16/2013

    One thing I find interesting and Raxman will love this!

    Cleverly’s team think that Kovalev is easy for them.  If Kovalev could fight like Golovkin they wouldn’t have taken the fight.

    I don’t know Kovalev has nasty hooks that go to straight Jabs with nice reach he can move a bit too.  He has good power in those shots.

    Obviously he is not GGG but who is.

  13. Meinhard Schmidt 08:34am, 08/16/2013

    I think Kovalev is a skilled boxer, not the like of Mayweather of course, but he has very good fundamentals, thanks to his extensive amateur career in Russia. He is capable of outboxing Clev if he has too… imo.

  14. Ted 08:15am, 08/16/2013

    Koolz has the beat

  15. Koolz 07:41am, 08/16/2013

    My big thing here is can Cleverly handle Kovalev’s punches into the middle rounds.  I doubt he will be able to avoid everything in the beginning rounds and he really shouldn’t try and trade with him.

    Will be very exciting fight!

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