SAN DIEGO, August 18, 2013 – A shocked hometown crowd in Cardiff, Wales saw British boxer Nathan Cleverly suffer his first ever knockdowns, knockout and first defeat on Saturday. Russian fighter Sergey Kovalev made quick work of Cleverly, stopping him early in the fourth round of their light heavyweight title bout.
Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs), made a believer of every fan who watched this fight. He was in control from the opening bell, scoring with a relentless series of jabs that never let up. It set him up for a serious assault in the third round. It began with a left upper cut, fueled by Kovalev’s killer instinct allowing him to move in and finish off his opponent. He put Cleverly down twice in the third round. Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) was so wobbly that the referee nearly carried him back to his corner at the end of the third round.
It seemed futile to let Cleverly continue, but it was a title fight and Cleverly was given every chance to dig deep and find a way to press on. He was simply and purely beaten by Kovalev, and referee Terry O’Connor only let 30 seconds of Round 4 click by before calling it a night.
This was only the second knockout out of 20 by Kovalev past the third round, and the truth is that Cleverly was finished in Round 3; Round 4 was a formality. This is an exciting fighter American fans will enjoy watching.
British fans and boxing media were devastated by Cleverly’s performance. They took some consolation in the fact most British sports fans were more interested in the opening night of Premiere League soccer and probably weren’t watching Kovalev destroy Cleverly. The crowd present at the Motorsport Arena hardly made a sound as they realized their fighter was in the beaten zone.
“I have boxed almost 20 years. I want to get the most from boxing in my life.” said Kovalev after his victory. He said his fights are usually like this, “but nobody believes here … I hoped I will be doing this great work, and I did it.”
Kovalev knew the stakes were high for this fight. “For me very important on American TV, Russian TV, all around the world. I want to show my boxing.”
Comparisons were instantly made by observers between Kovalev and the powerhouse punching middleweight, Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. Golovkin has had trouble finding opponents wiling to face the knockout threat. Kovalev may not have this problem yet, but opponents are advised to approach with caution.
So who will it be? Adonis Stevenson, Tavoris Cloud, Jean Pascal, and Andre Ward are names instantly put into circulation. Kovalev could aim high for the winner of Stevenson vs. Cloud. More realistic choices are Bernard Hopkins, or perhaps Polish fighter Andrzej Fonfara, who scored a ninth round TKO victory in Chicago Friday night over Gabriel Campillo.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva said HBO hasn’t yet discussed any possibilities with her. “HBO, I’m coming to see you Monday or Tuesday. There’s a reason they call him Krusher,” Duva laughed after the victory. Duva has done a marvelous job promoting Kovalev. Whoever she agrees to match Kovalev against, she won’t steer him wrong.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read Ringside Seat in Communities, follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter at @PRProSanDiego Gayle can be reached via Google +
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