Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev will be fighting next month against the talented blue-chip super middleweight prospect Bektemir ‘Bully’ Melikuziev on January 30th live on DAZN. Melikuziev is a 2016 Olympic silver medalist.
Mike Coppinger has revealed that the former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) will be returning to the ring off a 14-month layoff on the 24-year-old Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) in the main event.
The location of the Kovalev vs. Melikuziev fight is still yet to be determined. Kovalev will be getting $2.5 million for the fight, which is tied in with his previous deal for his fight last year against Canelo Alvarez.
It’s unclear who’s the idea it was for Kovalev to take on the dangerous southpaw Melikuziev because this is a fight that arguably far tougher than his last contest against Canelo Alvarez in November 2019.
Melikuziev, 5’9 1/2″, is taller than Canelo, and he punches with more power than him. If Kovalev had problems with Canelo and Anthony Yarde’s power, he’s doing to be miserable when he gets in there with the youngster Melikuziev.
Kovalev, 37, was supposed to be fighting fringe contender Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) on April 25th, but the contest fell through due to the Cuban having problems with getting a visa.
Melikuziev comes from Uzbekistan and now lives in Indio, California. He turned pro in 2019, and he’s beaten the following fighters:
- Clay Collard – 4 round TKO
- Oscar Cortes – KO 1
- Alan Campa – KO 3
- Vaughn Alexander – UD 10
- Ricardo Adrian Luna Flores – KO 1
- Martin Fidel Rios – KO 1
What’s different about Melikuziev’s wins than the average up-and-coming talent is that he knocks out his opponents rather than scoring TKO’s. That shows you the type of power that Melikuziev possesses.
As long as the 6’2″ Kovalev isn’t weight drained in making the 175-lb limit, he’ll have an advantage with his boxing skills, experience, and size.
Although Melikuziev has fought four of his six professional fights at light-heavyweight, he’s not anyone remotely as talented as Kovalev. This is a massive step up in class for Melikuziev, and he might not be ready for it.
In the 2016 Olympics, Melikuziev was worn down by the face pace, and heavy pressure from Cuban Arlen Lopez was soundly beaten 3-0. Melikuziev’s punching power wasn’t as impressed with him being pressured and pursued the entire fight by the taller Lopez.
If Kovalev is going to beat Melikuziev, he’ll need to dictate the pace and go after him. Kovalev can’t let Melikuziev rest because he can punch when he’s able to fight at a pace that suits his fighting style.
For Kovalev to be taking this fight with Melikuziev suggests that DAZN wanted to make sure that he fights someone with ability rather than a gimme.
If Kovalev loses this fight, his career is going to be pretty much over. In the 11th round last year in November, he was knocked out by Canelo Alvarez, and he’s not fought since.