Hall of Fame trainer James ‘Buddy’ McGirt has revealed how close he was to pulling Sergey Kovalev out of homecoming bout against Anthony Yarde.
Yarde recovered from a slow start to deliver several stinging shots to the Russian in the eighth which led to McGirt nearly throwing the towel in.
However, Kovalev would use every bit of his experience to down the brave Briton in the eleventh round. It was a pivotal victory for Kovalev, who now prepares to defend his title in a lucrative bout against boxing’s biggest name in Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on November 2.
With the WBO champion on the brink of a shock defeat, the American gave an insight into their conversation in the corner.
“Yeah, you know what happened, the funny thing is, he was pretty much just winning the fight with his jab and then he got lazy. When you’re in a situation like that and you get lazy and someone starts getting the best of you then you got to regroup,” he exclusively told World Boxing News.
“So when he came back in the corner I said, ‘look man, if you don’t show me something or I’m going to stop it’ and he said ‘don’t stop it, I’ve got it he’s tired’ and then he got him out of there two rounds later.”
Despite a heartbreaking defeat in Russia, Yarde stoke has risen in the division. McGirt believes ‘The Beast from the East’ has all the ingredients to become a world champion in the second time of asking.
“I really believe he (Yarde) has all the potential in the world to become a future world champion,” predicted McGirt.
“Listen, a lot of his people in his corner have been knocking this, knocking that. But you know I believe it’s like any sport, sometimes you get in those deep waters. You’ve never been there you really don’t know how to handle it.
“You got to be able to tell you fighter ‘okay look we got to be ready for this.’ If you’ve never been there, in that situation as a fighter or a trainer before in a big fight, what are you going to say?”
Meanwhile, McGirt is currently in fight week as Kovalev defends his WBO championship against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this Saturday.
The Mexican is moving up two weight divisions to take on Kovalev at the MGM Grand, which is live and exclusive to streaming service DAZN in the US while Sky Sports will be the provider for UK fans.
Should the ‘Krusher’ defeat Alvarez then the Russian will re-emerge as one of the best pound-for-pound stars on the planet.
“Asked if Kovalev will hang the gloves up after his 17th consecutive world title bout regardless of the result, McGirt concluded: “We haven’t discussed it.
“If I’m being honest with you, we’ve just been focusing on what we got to do. But as far as what’s going to happen after the fight, we haven’t discussed that at all.”