Saturday night on HBO in the US and Boxnation in the UK, Sergey Kovalev will defend his IBF/WBO and WBA light heavyweight titles against French mandatory challenger (IBF) Nadjib Mohammedi, who will be entering the fight as a heavy underdog.
The Frenchman will bring a 37-3, 23ko record to the ring, though hasn’t mixed in anywhere near the level of class as his Russian opponent. British fans may remember him from a 2010 loss to Welshman Nathan Cleverly, himself destroyed by the Russian in 2013, yet Mohammedi is in confident mood regardless.
Perhaps forgetting the famous Frenchman Georges Carpentier, Mohammedi said via fighthubtv
“In my country I am the best ever. I am the best in France. I don’t find good opponent at the top level. In France it is very difficult for me to develop my style and my career.”
“I have a new coach, I have a new team, I have a new promoter, I have a new life.”
Mohammedi will be cornered for the 3rd time by Abel Sanchez, who formerly trained Kovalev and currently looks after Gennady Golovkin, and feels this will be to his advantage;
“He (Sanchez) has a lot of experience, a different vision, he has a Mexican style and he has a lot of, lot of best fighter(s).”
And Mohammedi is aware that there are few expectations from the fans as far as he is concerned – something he is drawing confidence from;
“I don’t have a belt to lose. This guy has three belt(s) – for him, he has a lot of pressure. Me, I have no pressure. For me I go to this fight and relax because if I win, I win three belt. For me it’s okay – no problem.”
Clearly undaunted by Kovalev’s fearsome reputation as a puncher, Mohammedi showed no fear and insisted he can only see the fight finishing one way, whoever is victorious.
“You see the face off? I’m not scared. For me this is my job. This is my job for 15 years, I am not scared. This is my job, this is my time and this is my place. In the ring, this is my home.
“For me this fight is finished by knockout, for me or for him.”