Preview: Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy

By Robert Ecksel on November 23, 2017
Preview: Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy
Ward can box as well as punch. He has a great inside game. He can fight clean or dirty.

When asked if he was “afraid” of Kovalev’s power, Shabranskyy snorted and said, “I’m not scared of nobody…”

On Saturday., November 25, in The Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden, former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs), from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, by way of Kopeysk, Russia, returns to the ring after suffering back to back losses to Andre Ward against untested Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs), from Los Angeles via Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

Having cleaned house by jettisoning his longtime trainer John David Jackson after back-to-back losses, Kovalev needs a win to reestablish his credibility. He also needs a title.

Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, isn’t convinced that Ward ever beat Kovalev fair and square. Their first fight in November 2016 was a razor-thin decision in Ward’s favor, with final scores of 114-113 across the board. The rematch seven months later, Krusher’s chance to set the record straight, ended in a TKO victory for S.O.G..

“The first fight, I will say for the rest of my life, he didn’t lose,” said Duva on a recent conference call. “The second one, he was fighting the referee and the fighter, but he lost to the number one fighter in the world. That’s not coming back. You don’t fall too far when you’re that close with a guy who is that good. Ward has a style that is just very, very hard to beat, especially when he’s getting help.”

Help or no help, Ward was a pound-for-pound stalwart going in. He can box as well as punch. He has a great inside game. He can fight clean or dirty.

But Ward was then. Shabranskyy is now

“Slava Shabranskyy is a real fighter,” said Kovalev. “The fight is going to be interesting. It will be a great fight.”

Shabranskyy isn’t Ward, but he’s sure he’s catching Kovalev at the right time.

“Ward did his homework, A+,” Shabranskyy said. “I am prepared to see Kovalev in a different light for this fight. He’s actually much more dangerous after a loss, because he has everything to look forward to in this fight. But I learned a great lesson from what happened to him. Ward made necessary adjustments.”

When asked if he was “afraid” of Kovalev’s power, Shabranskyy snorted and said, “I’m not scared of nobody.”

Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing starting at 10 PM ET/PT.

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  1. Koolz 01:55pm, 11/24/2017

    we have to see if Kovalev is vulnerable now.  Shabranskyy having a punchers chance or more of a chance?  I think this fight is going to be harder then what a lot of people are saying.

    Nice to see Great Light Heavy Fight again!

    I like the card too.

  2. Bruno Schleinstein 11:30am, 11/24/2017

    @Koolz- I don’t mean to disrespect Shabransky who is a fighter through and through. I just hate mismatches .....comeback set ups…..get well fights…. in this “sport”! They picked Shabransky because they believe that Kovalev can land the right almost at will like Barrera did and get a stoppage. My hope is that Shabransky will go to the body hard if only to see how Kovalev reacts.

  3. Koolz 04:46am, 11/24/2017

    I don’t think that’s how Shabranskyy sees it.

  4. Bruno Schleinstein 06:45pm, 11/23/2017

    Don’t like this choice of opponent….not even a little bit. Marcus Browne would be the just the ticket here for the Krusher! Shabransky doesn’t deserve an ass beating just so this asshat can get back on track and feel better about himself! C’mon Shabransky!

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