by David P. Greisman
Lou DiBella, who promotes Blake Caparello, knows that his boxer is in for a tough fight against Sergey Kovalev, the light heavyweight titleholder who has scored knockouts in 22 of his 24 victories.
“In terms of knockout power and ruggedness, he’s [Kovalev’s] right there with anybody I’ve ever seen. He’s an incredibly strong guy. Tremendous puncher. He’s a dangerous guy,” DiBella said.
“I think Blake might beat him,” said DiBella, playing the role of promoter and advocate before going into his reasons why — while also complimenting Kovalev. “I think Blake’s going to give him a hell of a friggin’ fight. I really, really believe that. But I’m not going to lie to you: I’ll be worried until the bell rings in the final round, because the man can friggin’ punch holes through walls. So you can be up 9 rounds to nothing — you can be up 11 rounds to nothing — and there’s always the danger that one combination from this guy who’s sort of a relentless stalker can do you in.
“But I really believe what I’m about to say: Blake Caparello’s the best guy he’s ever fought. The best style to beat him, and the best guy he’s ever fought. If you stand in front of Kovalev, like if you stand in front of GGG, you’re going to lose, period. If you’re not fast enough or agile enough to give angles and move laterally and pop two or three punches and get away, you’re going to lose.
“I mean, [Cedric] Agnew showed a little bit — to the extent of which there’s vulnerability in Kovalev. And usually there’s not that much vulnerability in a guy that’s nicknamed ‘Krusher,’ legitimately, and earned it. But Agnew showed the vulnerability. Agnew didn’t throw any punches, but for six friggin’ rounds he frustrated the hell out of Kovalev by moving, by not being a standing, stationary target.”
Caparello became part of DiBella’s stable toward the start of 2014, then made his U.S. debut with a decision win over Elvir Muriqi.
“Blake’s wanted [Kovalev] since I signed him,” DiBella said. “And one of the reasons the kid appealed to me is the kid had no fear. I had looked at tape of him and said, ‘This kid must’ve been a great amateur because he can really box.’ And then I learned he really had no amateur background, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this kid’s got some God-given ability,’ and I really believe in him. He’s a terrific athlete. His boxing ability looks much more like a guy who’s had a couple hundred amateur fights than a guy that’s had nine.”
DiBella also talked up Caparello’s attitude, recalling that Caparello, whose style is that of a boxer, had watched the bout between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara and concluded that Lara had moved too much to deserve the win.
“This coming from a guy that’s a pure boxer,” DiBella said. “He also said to me that ‘I know I can’t beat Kovalev in retreat. I know that I have to score points to win. So it’s not a matter of me not getting knocked out. It’s a matter of me having to win a fight. So I have to throw jabs, land them. I have to follow the jabs with power punches. I have to land them. And then I have to be quick enough to get away so I’m not standing in front of this monster and get hit with something flush.’ He knows what he ahs to do. He believes he can do it. And he’s got me convinced he can do it.”
Another reporter asked DiBella whether Caparello’s challenge of Kovalev has parallels to Chris Algieri’s victory this past June over 140-pounder Ruslan Provodnikov.
“Yeah, it would look something like that,” DiBella responded. “I would hope that he doesn’t get caught in the first round [like Algieri did]. But I also think that he has a little bit more pop than Chris, maybe a little less speed, a little bit more pop, and maybe a little bit more ring generalship. Look, I think Chris is a terrific fighter but I actually think that Blake can hurt you in deceiving ways. I think that if Blake keeps landing combinations, he can hurt somebody. I think Chris is a little bit less of a threat from that standpoint. But yeah that would be a good example.
“I saw frustration in Sergey against Agnew in that fight. You could see it on his face. He didn’t quit. And I think Provodnikov — this is not any type of slight — I think Provodnikov mentally in that fight almost surrendered. I think he was frustrated beyond belief. You saw it in his face and you saw it in the way he fought. And at some point during that fight — I don’t care if you scored it for Provodnikov, if you watched as an honest observer, an honest fan, an honest boxing expert — you’re sitting there saying to yourself, ‘Wait a minute, this fight’s getting close. He has this guy’s number. He’s starting to frustrate him.’ If Blake’s going to win, he’s going to frustrate Kovalev.
DiBella noted Caparello’s performance against Muriqi and what it entailed.
“He won every second of every round. he couldn’t knock him out, but he threw about 100 punches a round. He landed about 50 punches a round. If he doesn’t get caught and he is throwing 100 punches per round and landing 50 punches a round, he’s going to beat Sergey Kovalev. Now that’s a big if. You’ve got to be throwing. You’ve got to be landing. You have to not get caught.
“And for the reason of his style and his perspective and understanding what he has to do, he is more dangerous than Agnew. He is more dangerous than the other guys who have stood there and traded with Sergey or stood right in front of him. He’s not going to stand right in front of him.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org