Sergey Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva has given her initial reaction to the Russian almost being taken out by challenger Anthony Yarde.
On Saturday night in his hometown, Kovalev was seemingly on his way to a routine win over the Briton. That all changed in the seventh when Yarde altered tactics.
Going to the body, a successful ploy used by Andre Ward in his two wins over Kovalev, Yarde began to get to the WBO light-heavyweight champion.
In the eighth, Kovalev’s energy seemed to sap quickly and Yarde smelled blood. Numerous headshots reigned down on Kovalev as his neck rocked back and forth.
The only thing that ultimately saved the ‘Krusher’ was Yarde’s lack of experience. ‘The Beast’ swung wildly, missing many of his haymakers and ran out of steam by the end of the session.
Kovalev was lucky to survive the round and was given a stern talking-to by trainer Buddy McGirt.
The respected coach informed his man in no uncertain terms that he’d stop the contest if any further big punches landed.
In response, Kovalev stayed out of trouble and eventually halted a tired Yarde in eleven.
Asked by World Boxing News how she felt at hearing McGirt’s words of warning, Duva exclusively stated: “I think that Buddy was just trying to shake him up a bit.
“Sergey’s reaction was: “Why would you do that? He’s tired now!” Yarde had punched himself out in the 8th. That was pretty obvious,” explained the Main Events supremo.
A massive clash with Canelo Alvarez, as first reported by WBN last month, is now in the offing for Kovalev.
Updating on the situation, Duva exclusively told World Boxing News: “Negotiations with Golden Boy were suspended when it became clear that we had to go through with this fight.
“So let’s see what happens next week. I think that this performance from Sergey makes a fight with Canelo that much more interesting.
“Sergey survived with a much bigger puncher than Canelo and outboxed him pretty consistently throughout the fight.
“In the past, he has hit a wall around that point in the fights that he has lost. I think he proved tonight to himself and everyone else that the adjustments that he had made to his training regime are working.
“He found his second wind when he needed it. He can certainly take on Canelo!”
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay