Earlier this week my co-worker came into work Monday morning and sat at his desk right next to me. He looked over to me with a smile and said. “Man, did you see that GGG guy? He’s a monster.” I couldn’t help but laugh. This is a guy that does not follow boxing by any means, and just happen to be home watching television, scrolling through channels at the right time. He’s knows I’m a boxing writer and fanatic. I hyped up Golovkin a bit, but more importantly I said, “You should watch this weekend as well.”
It’s not often we get to see two undefeated fighters smashing through opponents with knockout after knockout on primetime HBO. 2014 though has been about the rise of Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev as the most hyped fighters in the sport. This weekend, it’s Kovalev’s turn to show millions of people why he deserves to be the most avoided and dangerous fighter in the sport today. Kovalev will be taking on undefeated Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KO’s) in Atlantic City this Saturday night on HBO. Caparello is talking a lot like an underdog who can pull out the upset, but the truth about this fight is that it’s just another fight for Kovalev to decimate another opponent while waiting for big named fight. A fight that is not going to come easy for him.
“I am not a talker, I am a fighter.” If you knew nothing else about Sergey Kovalev that line given by him explains everything that he stands for. Kovalev brings a record of 24-0-1, with 22 Knockouts. He’s on a 13 fight KO streak with only two of those fights going past four rounds, and not one of them going past seven. The draw was an accidental head butt in which the fight did not go past four rounds.
Sergey Kovalev, like Gennady Golovkin, also has a big problem. Finding opponents that are worthy, and brave enough, to step into the ring with him to give him the big fight that everyone wants to see him in. Kovalev’s decimation of top contender Nathan Cleverly last year has steered the big names away from him. Cleverly was supposed to be the next big light heavyweight in boxing. Fans thought that he would be the superstar in the light heavyweight division. Kovalev destroyed him in four rounds, dropping him twice in round three and finishing him off in round four. Main Events, Kovalev’s promoter, said since then they just can’t get this guy a big fight.
Tavoris Cloud was given an offer that he did not respond too, Jean Pascal turned down an offer, and everyone knows the story about Adonis Stevenson leaving HBO for Showtime to join manager Al Haymon right before he was supposed to face Kovalev. Andre Ward is in court litigation, and even if he does become available he has no desire to move up to 175 unless it’s for a PPV fight. Main Events went as far as to even file a lawsuit saying that Stevenson and his manager agreed to the fight and because of that Main Events is suing hoping that maybe they can get him in the ring next. Two weeks ago, the legendary future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins said that he wasn’t scared of Kovalev, and that he would fight him anywhere at anytime.
“After reading Hopkins’s comments, I immediately reached out to all of the potential parties involved on the Hopkins side to try to make the fight happen. But what I heard from them is “I don’t know” including who would represent Hopkins in the negotiations. If Hopkins wants the fight, I know we can make a deal.” Main Events Kathy Duva stated.
The phone call that Duva made was perhaps before Hopkins himself even knew who would represent him in his next fight. Hopkins was not happy with the change in Golden Boy’s structure when friend and CEO Richard Schaefer resigned from Golden Boy’s head office. However, Hopkins and President Oscar De La Hoya seem to be hitting it off well. Hopkins seems ready to fight under the Golden Boy banner again, and Duva’s stance is that after this weekend, should Kovalev prevail, they are ready for him.
“All I want to do is fight the best.” Kovalev stated in a press release. “I wanted to fight Stevenson but he ran away.”
Guys like Kovalev don’t get a reputation for being unbeatable and given the term “Monster” for nothing. Adding to the hype of them knocking out every opponent that stands in front of them, is the fighters that refuse to fight them in the ring. This builds them up even more because now and days with Twitter, the fans know everything that is going on in the boxing industry. They know about the contract negotiations, they know who wants to fight who, and they know who is avoiding potential big match ups. And no sports fans in the world are as ruthless as boxing fans when it comes to dodging big fights. They do not like it, and they make it known that they don’t.
I remember my days of fighting, I remember growing up around professional boxers, and some that made it to the top level. Fans often say that fighters aren’t scared to fight anyone because that is what they grew up doing. That statement couldn’t be more false. As a fighter, you are always intimated by someone that you know can knock you out in one punch. If the fight can be avoided for a more favorable match-up especially for the same amount of money, trust me almost any fighter will do it. That seems to be the case when it comes to Sergey Kovalev. I’m not saying that guys like Stevenson and Hopkins are dodging him. I don’t know what they are thinking, what type of offers they are getting for other fights, and what their future plans are. Both Stevenson and Hopkins “say” they are willing to fight Kovalev yet neither one has stepped up to the plate. I also don’t know what rights Showtime has to either fighter. I do know that Kovalev is locked into HBO so if a fight were to be made the fight would have to end up there.
In the meantime though, Kovalev continues to do what he does best. Knock his opponents out while waiting for the bigger fight. Caparello isn’t expected to bring to the table anything Kovalev hasn’t seen before. Thought it’s fight’s like these where Kovalev has to be careful. 2014 has been the showcase of tons of “overmatched” fights, but some of them have been closer than they should have been. What we should see this weekend is another great knockout victory by Kovalev, and then another two months of trying to get him into the ring for a big fight. The knockout should be easy, the second part is going to be the hard part.