Yes, the fight hasn’t been made yet and the usual stumbling blocks will apply: money, rematch clauses and Al Haymon (Beterbiev’s advisor), but that doesn’t stop a guy like me from licking his lips at the prospect of this light heavyweight cold war.
Kovalev, becoming known for his mouth as much as his fists, is the WBA, IBF, and WBO 175lb king (he is, Adonis) and was in ruthless form last Saturday night against Nadjib Mohammedi. The IBF mandatory challenger didn’t provide anything to trouble the formidable Russian and was moved out of Kovalev’s path inside three rounds.
Watching somewhere was fellow Russian Artur Beterbiev, a 175 lb beast who’s ripped through his opponents like a jungle predator whose appetite is nowhere near satisfied. His professional career would enter double figures for the first time should he face Kovalev. Is he ready? Only he knows. Many believe he is. Maybe we’re being selfish, maybe he should tread water and wait for an opening; or, maybe it’s time to let this fighting animal off the leash and attempt to take down the king of the jungle – Kovalev.
In a recent interview published on Boxing Scene, Kovalev told Konstantin Ustyantsev: “I have always disliked him but it has nothing to do with his ethnicity [Beterbiev is of Chechen origin]. I’m not a nationalist and always vow for friendship between people. I just didn’t like him as a person. It’s an exciting chance to crush his career instantly.”
Fuel to a flame that was lit back in their amateur days.
“I did beat him twice in the amateur ranks. I would like to beat him again. I would like to meet with him and put him back in his place as a professional,” Beterbiev said earlier this year.
Amateur history, two big hitters, bad blood, national rivalry – excited yet?
Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, told Ring magazine after Saturday’s win: “Sergey’s next fight will be in Moscow on October 28. I am going to send a note to (promoter) Yvon Michel offering the fight to Artur Beterbiev.”
Michel has since told Michael Woods over at The Sweet Science: “Yes, Duva is a lady of her word. We got a proposal, dialogue has been established. We’re going in the right direction!”
Govlovkin vs Lemieux, Cotto vs Canelo and possibly Kovalev vs Beterbiev – in one year? How’s that for a two finger salute to Mayweather vs Pacquaio?!
Thirty eight fights between them, 34 KOs between them, both unbeaten, and a score that could get settled in Russia? I’ve already checked flight prices.
And let’s not forget these aren’t just two brawlers from the streets. They are educated fighting assassins: clever, destructive and remorseless. As soon as they are done with one opponent their face says, “Bring me the next one.”
Sergey Kovalev vs Artur Beterbiev is a cold blooded treat, a squared circle nuclear war that will see the fighters’ temperatures as warm as the Siberian climate and have wide-eyed fans on the edge of their seats, refusing to blink. They’ll witness a violent spectacle more explosive than when Rocky Balboa travelled to the former Soviet Union to topple Ivan Drago!
Here’s hoping Andre and Adonis have a ringside seat. — Shaun Brown