It wasn’t supposed to be that easy, was it?
Sergey Kovalev didn’t just defeat future hall-of-famer, 49-year-old legend, weird alien mask wearer Bernard Hopkins. He utterly embarrassed him. Nobody, not even the great Roy Jones Jr. could say they defeated Hopkins with as much ease as Kovalev did.
And he didn’t simply use brute force, as many of us thought he needed to do. He pressured, then he countered. He attacked, but with a measured, controlled pace. He was not only brilliant offensively, but he was defensively sound as well, moving out of range when he sensed that Hopkins was about to strike.
In short, Kovalev is even better than we thought he was. Nevermind that he hits like a goddamn F350. We already knew that. No, this fella actually has skills, and be it a subtle adjustment or some quick thinking, he’s got the goods.
He may not be the lineal Light Heavyweight champion, but make no mistake, he’s the best 175 pounder in the world. We weren’t 100 percent convinced of that until he took the master to school, wiping him out by beating him at his own game. He out-thought the thinker.
With his ass beating of Hopkins out of the way, what’s next?
The obvious answer is Adonis “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy and I’m Fighting Some Guy Nobody Has Heard of” Stevenson. That fight was of course supposed to happen last year, but Stevenson thought it would be better to piss everyone off, jump to another network, get sued, fight and nearly get knocked out by Andrzej Fonfara and then talk a bunch of trash. I think I covered everything.
Anyway, that fight doesn’t appear even remotely close to happening anytime soon. And after making what amounts to his biggest payday by far, Kovalev probably won’t be taking any stay-busy fights either. But if he wants the big-\ bouts, who’s there?
There aren’t a lot of big name options for Kovalev at 175. Other than Stevenson, the next logical choice would be Jean Pascal. Pascal is a decent enough fighter. He’s got good hand speed and quickness to go along with solid pop. He also enjoys talking smack, so that’s fun.
But he’s already watched Bernard Hopkins do some pushups and then whip his ass all over the ring. Could he actually put up a fight against “The Krusher?” The short answer? Probably not. Kovalev appears to be way too much for the Haitian and would probably end up breaking his face.
That’s pretty much it for the Light Heavyweight division, unless you’re interested in seeing Kovalev murder Isaac Chilemba.
So if we’re bouncing outside the division, our eyes are going to narrow right on Andre Ward. Andre has been the king of the 168 pound division for quite some time. He also fights as often as Andre The Giant.
Still, it would be a fantastic match to ponder, despite the obvious logistical difficulties, like deciding a weight class and getting Ward to actually, you know, fight.
Ward has out-of-this-realm boxing skills and savvy, and he’s in his absolute prime. Kovalev brings the power, but it would be interesting to see if he could get a glove on Ward and handle the return fire that the precise Californian would throw his way.
But it’s hard to envision Ward diving right in after being sidelined for a year. He’d most likely take a tune-up fight first, and that is after he resolves whatever bizarre promotional issues he thinks he has. I don’t know, but if your job is to promote a guy who isn’t all that exciting to watch and has a smaller fan base than your local JV girls volleyball team, Dan Goossen excelled if you ask me.
So who’s left? Julio Cesar Chavez has been turning down lucrative fights left and right in favor of what is more than likely to be eating a lot and not training.
But what about Carl Froch? The British star is desperately trying to line up one last superfight. Froch could pack any stadium in England, but he appears ready to hit up Vegas for a shot at glory. A fight with Kovalev would be an absolute war for as long as it lasted. Froch’s chin is the stuff of legend, but could he survive being in the ring with cement-fisted Kovalev?
It would be fantastic for us to be able to find out.
Sergey Kovalev already has the power to demand attention from mainstream fans. He added a huge name to his resume by whipping BHop. Now we want more. He’s got momentum, let’s hope he uses it to call out the other top dogs.
Then all we need is one of them to respond.
Some Random Notes From Around The Boxing World:
Oh my god it actually came true. Someone is going to fly Jose Luis Castillo to Russia to have him murdered. Castillo is 40, which isn’t the problem. Juan Manuel Marquez is 40. Lots of guys can fight well into their 40’s. The problem is that Castillo fights like he’s 87. He was shot four years ago when he was beaten to shit by Alfonso Gomez. ALFONSO GOMEZ. Ruslan Provodnikov is going to tear off Castillo’s arms and beat him with them. This is a sick, pathetic fight. Was fuckin’ Rod Salka not available?
Speaking of sick and pathetic, I can’t wait until Shannon Briggs busts into the delivery room with a camera crew when Wladimir Klitschko’s child is being born and helps with the birth. “I SEE THE HEAD, CHAMP. EVEN THE BABY KNOWS I’M READY TO FIGHT YOU RIGHT NOW!!!”
You know who Manny Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight? Chris Algieri. Because he’s Manny Pacquiao. He should be able to beat Algieri if he uses Buboy as his own puppet during the fight. They can try to sell it all they want, but Algieri is a LET DOWN fight.
Perhaps that’s Algieri’s secret. He certainly wasn’t Ruslan Provodnikov first choice. Perhaps Manny is practicing his vocal range more than his combinations in training camp. We know this fight sucks, and Pac Man probably does too.
I was not kind to Sadam Ali during his fight with Luis Carlos “Jiggly Legs” Abregu. I nearly nodded off several times early on, but I rewatched it, and I’ll eat some crow–Ali was doing fine technical work in there. And then he did what elite prospects do–he finished off a tough challenger. Good for him. Let’s see some more.
His man got wiped out, but Naazim Richardson is a freakin’ fantastic trainer. Everything he implored Hopkins to do was dead on. Hopkins, like so many of his opponents often did when he was embarrassing them, flat out refused to listen.
My prediction for Klischko vs. Pulev? PAIN. I think Klitschko should just give Briggs what he wants. He should fight him. Really, will it be any less competitive than his last 17 fights or so? And it might be fun watching him batter Briggs all over the ring for awhile.
Header photo by Rich Graessle/Main Events