By Bryan Mazique / Credit: Photo by John Locher, AP –
WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KO) continues to crush opponents.
On Saturday night, Kovalev defended his titles by way of a third-round TKO win over an overmatched Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4). There was little resistance offered up by Mohammedi in this one.
He couldn’t match Kovalev’s speed, technical acumen and certainly not the Russian’s power. With every power punch the champion landed, it was clear he was just too strong for Mohammedi.
The challenger’s only defense seemed to be his awkwardness, but Kovalev wouldn’t allow that to keep him from the finish for long. He dropped Mohammedi for the first time in the second round with this right hand, per HBO Boxing.
Watch: Kovalev sends Mohammedi down to the canvas in the second round. #KrusherMohammedi
Mohammedi would get to his feet, but he made the decision reluctantly. He spent the remainder of the round grabbing, holding and attempting to wrestle Kovalev down in an effort to survive the frame. He accomplished his short-term goal, but it was clear he wouldn’t be around for long.
In the third round, Kovalev put him away with this right-left combination. The tail end of the one-two might have broken a bone in Mohammedi’s face.
Referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the bout as Mohammedi made more effort to address his injured cheek bone than he did to beat the count.
When the fight was over, speculation about Kovalev’s next opponent began.
Jean Pascal won a controversial decision over Yunieski Gonzalez in the undercard, and that win put him in line for another shot at Kovalev. The Russian already scored an eighth-round TKO win over Pascal in March.
The fight was an entertaining one, so there could be a small market for the rematch. On a larger scale, a fight with WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson or countrymen Artur Beterbiev would be most appealing. Making either fight will be problematic because Al Haymon promotes both fighters, and there’s a storied history of issues with HBO and Showtime fighters facing off against each other.
More realistic opponents for Kovalev would be middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin or super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward.
Golovkin would have to come up at least eight pounds for a superbout with Kovalev. Ward would be a more feasible opponent as the two men could meet somewhere between 168 and 175 pounds. HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Kovalev who he would like to face next with specific references to Golovkin and Ward, but Kovalev kept it general, per HBO Boxing.
Many in the boxing community such as Bleacher Report’s Kevin McRae and Bad Left Hook’s Scott Christ were intrigued by the possibility of a Ward vs. Kovalev scrap.
I’d be super fascinated by a Ward-Kovalev matchup. Think that’s a great one on paper.
@scottchristBLH Agree. I am very curious to see how Andre could handle or take away Kovalev’s power.
There’s no doubt that bout could be an entertaining one. Kovalev’s power is unlike anything Ward has ever faced. With Ward moving up, it would be interesting to see how he handles the additional weight and bigger punch.
As of now, we don’t have any official word on that bout. We’ll just have to appreciate Kovalev’s latest destructive exhibition.