Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events – Sergey Kovalev fights his mandatory (IBF) challenger, Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi tonight on HBO/Boxnation in the UK and has warned there is still much more to come from him in the future, as he is learning every day.
The Russian knockout artist hit the big time with his WBO 175 lb title win over Welshamn Nathan Cleverly in 2013 and has since added the IBF and WBA titles by beating future Hall of Fame Inductee Bernard Hopkins by UD last November, with Hopkins being one of the few to actually hear the final bell against the “Krusher.”
An 8th round stoppage of Jean Pascal – who boxes on the undercard – followed the Hopkins fight and Bernard himself told Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva just how good he thinks he is, as Duva recounted at the media event to promote the fight earlier this week;
“Bernard Hopkins said to me that Sergey is getting better with every fight,” she said. “He is powerfully fast and shockingly dominating. He is the kind of guy that people want to see. Hopkins warned Sergey not to get complacent. I think a mark of a great fighter is no matter what you do, you are never satisfied, and that is the best way to describe Sergey.”
And the John David Jackson trained Kovalev agrees with that sentiment;
“I want to be better and want to be improved for every fight because a boxer can never expect to be perfect. My goal in my preparations is to get better and remove all my mistakes from (the) last fight, to show to people I can not only punch, I can do boxing.
“I am disappointed people couldn’t see in my first 14 or 15 fights. I can do boxing. I just started to get good opponents when I signed with Kathy Duva.”
And barring a brief appearance on a 2011 undercard, this will be Kovalev’s first fight in Vegas, fighting at the Mandalay Bay, and Main Events CEO Duva is keen to establish it as a fighting home for Sergey, who – like Kazakh middleweight Gennady Golovkin – always brings knockout excitement;
“It is the same thing that makes fans want to watch Mike Tyson or Gennady Golovkin,” she said. “Fans want to see knockouts. This is a blood sport. Sergey brings all of that. Sergey is a bad, bad man. He has got that edge and that danger to him.
“My barometer has always been when I get excited myself to watch a fighter after the thousands of fights I have seen. I still get excited when Sergey fights. Every fighter, when he becomes accomplished enough, will have to get themselves up for absolutely everybody. He needs to prove this too. He is still on the way up, but he is a lot further along the way.
“He has had two difficult and challenging fights (Hopkins & Pascal), and there is a natural tendency to taper off in that situation. He needs to stay focused on Nadjib,”