I’m just a kid from Baltimore, so I won’t exactly be confused with the great John Facenda (voice of NFL Films), but I am smart enough to know that Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26KO’s) will have to change “The Autumn Wind” of his boxing career in his favor, next Saturday night when he steps in the ring to face Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy (19-0, 16KO’s) for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Coming off of two tough losses against Andre Ward (now retired), Kovalev now has to essentially build his top pound-for-pound status brick by brick. Obviously, there is no shame in losing to the great Ward, but Kovalev feels he received a raw-deal in both fights. The first fight I had Kovalev winning on my scorecard, but Ward was given the unanimous decision victory. In their second fight, Kovalev was clearly tiring in the middle rounds, but believed he could have won the fight if it weren’t for multiple low-blows, not body shots by Ward, that prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight at 2:29 of round 8.
Now the question…Is it still in him? We have all seen this scenario play out many times in all sports. You have an athlete who has been at the top of the food chain, but now has suffered two devastating losses. Quite honestly, most of them never regain that focus and fire that allowed them to reach elite status. Kovalev, 34, knows he may not have many chances left to cement his legacy and change “The Autumn Wind”.
“The Autumn Wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun. He’ll knock you ’round and upside down, and laugh when he’s conquered and won” John Facenda.
Catch the fight live on HBO World Championship Boxing on Saturday November 25th.