KO artist Kovalev looks to remain undefeated vs. unbeaten Agnew
Pound-for-pound, Sergey Kovalev might be boxing’s hardest puncher.
His last seven fights ended in a knockout, and it wasn`t against a bunch of nobodies. His last three opponents had a combined two losses between them.
Due to his devastating punching power, it has been getting increasingly harder to find him worthy opponents. Saturday (10 p.m. ET, HBO) Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) faces undefeated challenger Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) in a quest to continue moving up the sport’s food chain.
"Training has been going well," Kovalev said. "We’re almost done. We will have our best two or three days of workouts and then I’m ready to go to the fight. I’ve been sparring with three or four different guys and it is going well."
Kovalev, a Russia native who now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is doing everything he needs to do to become boxing’s next superstar. His English is improving rapidly, but more importantly, his fan-friendly style and-highlight reel knockouts make him must-see TV. As much as he ends fights in dramatic fashion, the old adage says that you don’t get knockouts by looking for knockouts. That’s something to which Kovalev adheres.
"I’m not going to the ring to knock somebody out," Kovalav said. "I go to the ring for boxing. It’s not my fault if somebody’s going to fall after my punch."
It has been nearly four years since a Kovalev fight needed the judges’ scorecards. In his 24-fight career, he has only been to eight rounds once. The strategy many of his opponents employ is to try to take him into deeper waters, but he says he is ready for that, too.
I’m not going to the ring to knock somebody out. I go to the ring for boxing. It’s not my fault if somebody’s going to fall after my punch.
"I am prepared any time for 12 rounds worth of boxing," Kovalev said. "Now, too, I’m sparring 12 to 16 rounds. I’m ready and prepared to fight to 12 rounds."
Kovalev says his goal this year is get one more title in his division. The fight everyone wants to see is for him to match up with Canadian superstar Adonis Stevenson, another hard-puncher currently riding a wave of momentum. Future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins is also in the weight class and pound-for-pound star Andre Ward is one class below, but says he would come up for the right fight.
There is little doubt a big fight is possible in the very near future for Kovalev, but he knows a loss this weekend would greatly lessen those chances.
"I don’t want to think about any fight except my fight March 29 against Cedric Agnew," Kovalev said. "I only focus on this fight now."