By Igor Lazorin, tass
According to former four division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez, Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) is only a few wins away from reclaiming the top spot of his division.
Kovalev was at one time an unstoppable force at light heavyweight, but then suffered back to back defeats to Andre Ward.
He suffered a twelve round decision loss to Ward in November 2016, and then was stopped in the eight round of the June 2017 rematch. Kovalev verbally protested both defeats - claiming that he was robbed on the cards the first time around and in the rematch he said the referee failed to warn Ward for numerous low blows.
Ward, who in beating Kovalev had captured the WBA, IBF, WBO world titles, announced his retirement last year - and entire division became wide open as all three worlds title became vacant.
All three of the titles have been claimed by Russian boxers.
Kovalev reclaimed one of his belts, the WBO, by destroying Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy last fall in New York City. The WBA title was secured by Dmitry Bivol, and the IBF title was captured by Artur Beterbiev,
Kovalev is back in action on March 3, when he faces the IBO champion, also from Russia, Igor Mikhalkin. In the co-feature, Bivol will defend against Sullivan Barrera, and the two winners could collide at some point this year - as HBO is very interested in matching them against each other.
"Sergey is a very tough boxer, a good guy," said Marquez. "He was seriously unlucky in the fights with Ward, including the second one with the punches below the belt, but Sergey only needs a couple of fights and he's right back at the top again."
Beyond his next fight, Kovalev has already expressed a desire to face both Bivol and especially his amateur rival, Beterbiev.
The only champion outside of the Russian trio is Adonis Stevenson of Canada, who is going to face Badou Jack in the coming months.