By Jake Donovan
The light heavyweight clash between Sergey Kovalev and Cornelius White this Friday at Sands Resort Casino in Bethlehem, Penn. comes with the bonus of the winner guaranteed a future title shot. That opportunity won’t necessarily come against newly crowned lineal king Adonis Stevenson, but didn’t discourage either fighter from taking in his shocking 1st round knockout win over Chad Dawson last weekend in Canada.
As is often the case with a pending fight in queue, both are more concerned about the task on hand Friday, which airs live on NBC Sports Network. That said, neither fighter expressed shock over the result.
“I think nothing (of the outcome), said Kovalev (20-0-1, 18KO), who is coming off of a sensational knockout win over former champ Gabriel Campillo this past January. “Chad Dawson was already dead after (his loss to) Andre Ward.”
White (21-1, 16KO) was more willing to give Dawson the benefit of the doubt in having a future in the sport, but concedes to the possibility that the best possible version of the dethroned champ was present last weekend.
“I think Chad went into the fight underestimating his power. I worked with Stevenson and know what he’s capable of,” commented White, who has won five straight since his own 1st round knockout loss suffered more than two years ago against Donovan George.
White’s previous sparring sessions with Stevenson gives him a clearer view than most of what the Haiti-born Canada-based knockout artist can do in the ring in any given fight. Those memories are enough to focus too much on the fantasy matchup when a daunting task still awaits.
“Stevenson’s not on my mind right now. I have a mountain to climb with Sergey,” White admits.
Kovalev will never be confused with an arrogant man, but the unbeaten light heavyweight is confident enough in his own abilities to multitask a bit. Despite just four years in the pro ranks, the 30-year old believes the time is now to challenge for a title. He would love nothing more than the chance to get a better look at Stevenson than what was provided last weekend.
“I just saw half a round of him,” Kovalev says of his knowledge of the new champ, speaking to the 76 seconds it took for Stevenson to become light heavyweight king. “Before I’ve never seen him fight. I think a fight between us would be great.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox