By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Sergey Kovalev contemplated retirement following his technical knockout loss to Andre Ward in their rematch three months ago.
Once some of the disappointment dissipated, though, Russia’s Kovalev determined that he couldn’t end his boxing career that way. The former light heavyweight champion has regrouped and is looking forward to winning his comeback bout against Ukraine’s Vyachaslev Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) on November 25 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO).
“I’m not broken mentally,” Kovalev told a group of reporters prior to the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight Saturday night. “I’m strong inside and I’m healthy. And God blessed me to keep my boxing career [moving] forward. Everything is good.”
The controversial way Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) lost to Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) in the eighth round of their June 17 rematch – on body blows that looked low – bothers Kovalev. The 34-year-old Kovalev knows, however, that he can’t continue dwelling on what he considers an unjust conclusion and that he must move forward.
“It’s already history,” Kovalev said. “I made a lot of mistakes for this fight, but it’s good experience for me again. Like every fight I got something new for myself, you know, for my team. And I’m looking forward to be the best for myself, not for anybody [else]. I want to show my best boxing. I want to return to my best shape. I went to my last fight in my best shape – before [the fight], not in the fight.
“Before my last fight, I was in very good shape, best shape. But something happened with me when I stepped into the ring. I was very relaxed. I don’t know why – just maybe nervous. But I didn’t [feel] nervous. It was for me a surprise. I was surprised. Something happened with me, like maybe in my mind some things that it can be unfair again. I don’t know.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.