By Jake Donovan
Blake Caparello doesn’t care that Sergey Kovalev is upwards of a 14-1 favorite to successfully defend his light heavyweight title this weekend, or that he’s going in the ring to face a fighter regarded as among the most feared in the sport today.
In fact, the unbeaten Aussie elected to run towards the sound of gunfire, simply because it was an opportunity well within reach.
“There’s not many people that wanted to fight Sergey,” noted Ron Rizzo of DiBella Entertainment, Caparello’s promoter in the United States. “People aren’t jumping at the opportunity. Blake understands that you have to position yourself as a challenger before becoming a champion. He’s in this position because he wants to be come a champion.”
Caparello (19-0-1, 6KOs) fights for the second straight time in the U.S. as he prepares to face the unbeaten light heavyweight titlist Saturday evening at Revel Resort in Atlantic City. His lone stateside appearance was enough to keep him unbeaten, but hardly left an impression on the boxing world in outpointing Elvir Muriqi in their ESPN2-televised bout earlier this year.
Conversely, Kovalev (24-0-1, 22KOs) had built up considerable momentum prior to winning a light heavyweight belt last summer. Saturday marks his third title defense as he also looks to further extend his current eight-fight knockout streak.
If Caparello is to be believed, then his will to win alone should be reason enough to not discount his chances on Saturday.
“Sergey is a true champion. He went to (Wales) to beat Nathan Cleverly,” Caparello noted during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. “I’m coming to America to do the same thing. You can’t write off a guy who wants to be a champion.”
The light heavyweight bout will air live on HBO, as part of a split-site tripleheader. The other two bouts air live from Las Vegas, as Diego Chaves faces Brandon Rios in a highly anticipated welterweight clash, while Jessie Vargas makes the first defense of his 140 lb. belt versus Anton Novikov in a matchup of unbeaten super lightweights.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.