Kovalev: ‘This is a quarrel of my life’

The Making Of Hopkins-Kovalev


Light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, a Russian wrecking machine, is zero if not focused on a charge during hand.

That is given Kovalev was in a inlet of training stay on Oct. 20 while his wife, Natalia, was in a Los Angeles sanatorium giving birth their initial child, a son they named Aleksandr, after one of a boy’s grandfathers.

“I’m really happy and really vehement that we got my new name, ‘Daddy.’ It was for me a biggest day in my life,” Kovalev said. “I cried a tiny bit out of complacency when we saw on Skype that a baby was born, maybe dual mins after it happened. Natalia had to do this by herself, so many of a devotion goes to her, and she is still healthy, a baby is still healthy, and we am really happy.


Where: Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey
When: Saturday, 10:45 p.m. ET/PT

“This means for me all right now. It is a many critical thing in my life now and we felt it before in my conduct and also in my heart. And now we welcome this subsequent large fight, that I’m going to win and give this feat to my son.”

That Kovalev missed his son’s birth should uncover everybody usually how severely he is holding that subsequent large quarrel he mentioned — a 175-pound universe pretension joint quarrel with a good Bernard Hopkins on Saturday night (HBO, 10:45 ET/PT) during Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is one of a many poignant fights of a year and a feat would be life-changing for Kovalev and his family. It would propel him to heights he has never known.

The quarrel matches a 31-year-old Kovalev’s harmful energy — he is nicknamed “Krusher,” and his 88.5 percent knockout ratio is second best among active titleholders behind usually middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s 90.3 percent — opposite a guile, knowledge and defensive bravery of a 49-year-old Hopkins, a vital fable who has cracked several age-related fighting records, turns 50 in Jan and stays one of a best fighters in a world.

In a scheduled 10-round welterweight co-feature, Brooklyn, New York’s Sadam Ali (20-0, 12 KOs), 26, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, takes a vital step adult in foe opposite Luis Carlos Abregu (36-1, 29 KOs), 30, of Argentina, whose sole improved was a preference to Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2010.

Philadelphia’s Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), who incited pro in 1988 (when Kovalev was 5), is a many some-more famous warrior than Kovalev interjection to his present of chit-chat and a prolonged career that has enclosed many vital fights, including opposite Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik and Roy Jones Jr. Hopkins’ age is also a widespread storyline of a fight.

Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs), who has never seen a ninth spin and usually began to spin famous to a fighting open over a past dual years, has his possess story.

Kovalev Greatest Hits

Look behind on a arise of light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev forward of his Nov. 8 hitch with Bernard Hopkins.

After a good pledge career, he left Russia and changed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to spin pro in 2009. He was winning, though it was tough to get fights. He had to transport all over a United States — North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, California, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois — to quarrel on all sorts of tiny shows underneath a superintendence of manager Egis Klimas, who could not get a upholder meddlesome in Kovalev until Main Events arch executive Kathy Duva gave him a possibility on one her NBC Sports Net cards in 2012.

Kovalev scored a knockout. And afterwards another. And afterwards another. With a radio exposure, Kovalev was gaining fans given he was considerable and exciting. Duva was sold. She sealed him and eventually maneuvered him into a universe pretension shot opposite then-undefeated Nathan Cleverly in Aug 2013. Kovalev went to Cleverly’s home nation of Wales and broken him in 4 biased rounds.

Three defenses and a agreement with HBO later, and Kovalev stands on a hill of superstardom if he beats Hopkins, who has never been tighten to being knocked out in his 26-year career.

“When we was an amateur, people adore to watch me fight,” Kovalev said. “When we came to America, nobody watch me in a beginning. Then Egis found me good team. Kathy Duva and her group spin courtesy on me here, and now we am fighting opposite Hopkins.”

But Kovalev remembers a tough times.

“I can consider behind and remember all from early in my career, though we don’t wish to do that. It was mostly really terrible and it was tough to get to this theatre and this place,” Kovalev said. “I was acid around for any promoter, though no one would pointer me. we fought for 3 years for free. In 2013, Kathy Duva sealed me and my career has gotten many better. Being on a large quarrel on TV is what I’ve always wanted.

“When we fought three, 4 years ago me and Egis were roving all over a nation in America and fighting anyone who was ready, we didn’t consider that this quarrel would be possible. But we believed that we can to do it, and we attempted to do it and some really large interjection to my promoter, Kathy Duva, and to Egis that they, from their conversations, led me to pointer a agreement with a promoter.

“That is when my quarrel began. I’ll tell we why. we waited a prolonged time [to get to this] turn and waited for this fight, a outrageous fight. When we was a child, we had a dream. When we watched TV, we watched it and we had a dream. we wanted to be there. we wanted to be there, and we will try to be there, and I’m here. Everything from your conduct and all from your heart, if we wish it, we can do it.”

Klimas, a self-made male and newcomer from Lithuania, who has fast spin one of boxing’s many distinguished managers, spent those early days doing whatever he could to get Kovalev fights. He mostly paid promoters out of his possess slot usually to get him on a show. He usually kept a faith that they’d eventually get a large break.

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“We were in really tough times, we were in tough times with him during his career where we had doubts,” Klimas said. “Should we go serve or should we dump it? Do we go here in this world? Do we go here in fighting or not? We were outsiders, like many others, like people entrance from Mexico and people entrance from Latin America here, and it’s tough to find [success]. But one time Sergey said, ‘America’s a nation where your dreams come true.’

“So, it was a tough time, though usually given he is how he is, a tellurian being, and we have some other businesses, we have some other income in this world, so we was meditative about what he’s going to do, where he’s going to go if I’m going to say, OK, that’s it, we’re quitting. We’re both not quitters, we both win. Through a prolonged career we still have a best relationship, and given of a attribute and a nature, we’re still going.”

Kovalev pronounced he never stopped desiring he would make it, even when times were tough. And now that he has done it, he knows he can secure his family’s destiny — including that tiny baby’s — and take his career to another turn by violence Hopkins. That awaiting is so critical to Kovalev it given he missed his son’s birth.

“This is for me a outrageous fight, and this is a quarrel of my life. It’s a really critical fight,” he said. “I’m focused on this. Yes, my baby was innate and we remember this, and my son pushed me some-more and is a large proclivity for me. Now we know who I’m doing all in my career for. I’m doing it now not for me. I’m doing this for my family.

“Egis Klimas paid for all when we was starting out, my opponents, my garments and my food. He invested a lot into me. This quarrel is a good event for me to emanate my story for me and my family. we will do that. When my son grows adult he will be means to demeanour during this and say, ‘That is my father.’ He can see that we did it for him.”

Dan Rafael


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