By Peter Lim
It will be business as usual for Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) when he challenges Sergey Kovalev (23-0, 21 KOs) for the WBO light heavyweight title in Atlantic City this Saturday.
“I don’t see myself as an underdog," Agnew told The Houston Chronicle. "He’s undefeated but so am I. I’m coming to the fight like I do each and every fight - looking to beat the man.
“I don’t feel no pressure and I’m taking it one day at a time and concentrating on this fight as just another fight.”
A former four-time national champion in the amateur ranks, Agnew was introduced to the sweet science at age 8 by his uncle Mike Evans (38-11-1, 27 KOs), a former heavyweight fringe contender. The native of Chicago relocated to Houston in 2009 to train under Bobby Benton at the Main Boxing Gym.
Both Agnew and Benton were predictably guarded about revealing too much about their fight strategy except to say that brain will prevail over brawn.
“I’m going to win by using my brain and outthinking him,” Agnew said. “The smarter fighter wins every time. I always find a way to win a fight.”
The matchup will see a clash of diametrically polar styles. A slick switch-hitter, Agnew, 27, favors tactically counter punching from a tortoise-like shell. Kovalev, 30, by contrast, applies controlled pressure and chisels away with sharp jabs to create openings for murderous power shots that, more often than not, render his opponents dazed, discombobulated and sometimes unconscious.
“Cedric’s not afraid of this guy," Benton told the Chronicle. "Everybody he’s fought was scared to death before they stepped in the ring.”