Sergey Kovalev’s cruiserweight fight against Meng Fanlong is now off for March 19th. Triller reportedly were planning on moving the fight to May 14th, but Fanlong (17-0, 10 KOs) opted instead to go in another direction against 39-year-old Jean Pascal on May 20th.
Pascal vs. Fanlong is a decent light heavyweight fight, but not really a great one. Pascal hasn’t fought since 2019, and it’s unlear what he’s got left t this late stage in his career, particularly coming off a long layoff. With that said, Pascal probably still has more than enough to beat a fighter like Fanlong.
Accoring to Dan Rafael, the former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (34-4-1 29 KOs) could still be fighting on the May 14th date depending on if an opponent can be located.
In theory, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find an opponent to replace the little known Fanlong (17-0, 10 KOs) for Kovalev to fight on the May 14th date. There wasn’t much excitement from boxing fans when the 38-year-old Kovalev was tentatively scheduled to face Fanlong.
Kovalev hasn’t fought in 2 1/2 year since his 11th round knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez in November 2019, and he just needs to get busy fighting again.
At this point, Kovalev is pretty well past it as a fighter, and whatever he did have left in the tank after his loss to Canelo, he likely lost it by staying inactive for the last 2.5 years.
Kovalev’s inertia since 2019 makes it hard to take him seriously as one of the cogs in the light heavyweight or cruiserweight divisions.
During Kovalev’s best years, he was viewed as one of the two best lightheavyweights in the division from 2013 to 2016. Kovalev’s two defeats against Andre Ward were the beginning of the end, however.
Kovalev’s fight with 34-year-old Fanlong was supposed to be at cruiserweight, which suggests that’s a weight class that the Russian fighter may be looking to compete in.
With Kovalev’s past stoppage losses to Canelo and Eleider Alvarez, it doesn’t make sense for him to be campaigning at cruiserweight. He’s better off staying at 175, and fighting weaker-punching fighters to build himself up for a nice payday fight against one of the champions.
If Kovalev were to return to the 175-lb division, he doesn’t possess the youth to defeat the current champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol or Joe Smith Jr.
At best, Kovalev would only be useful as a well-known opponent for one of them if he can restart his career, and that’s a big IF at this point.
“Per sources, planned Sergey Kovalev-Meng Fanlong Triller fight off. Told Triller dragged feet & Meng took another fight. Kovalev is slated to face TBA on May 14 (tentative date). Meng slated to fight on Probox card May 20 & I’m told vs Jean Pascal, last seen failing numerous PED tests,” said Dan Rafael.