By Luke Furman
The owner of the IBF light heavyweight title, undefeated Artur Beterbiev, is very interested in a potential showdown with compatriot Sergey Kovalev - if Kovalev is able to regain his world title in February.
In the professional ranks, the 33-year-old Beterbiev scored 13 victories in 13 fights (all by knockout). On the ledger of the former WBO, IBF, WBA (Super) light heavyweight champion Kovalev, 35-years-old, is a record of 32 wins (28 knockouts) with three defeats and a draw.
The boxers met twice in the amateur ranks, and both fights ended in favor of Beterbiev.
Back in August, Kovalev was knocked out in seven rounds by Eleider Alvarez, who with the victory claimed the WBO world title.
A rematch has been set down for February 2.
Should Kovlev reclaim his crown, Beterbiev is willing to revive their rivalry in the paid ranks.
“This fight will only be interesting to me if Kovalev regains the championship title. Without a belt, this fight does not create a strong interest for me. And in this situation I am purely talking about a competitive interest, it's nothing personal,” said Beterbiev to Vasily Konov.
Beterbiev was not surprised that Alvarez defeated Kovalev - and he gives the Colombian boxer the advantage in the second fight.
“This is boxing, where everything can be solved with one punch. In their fight, that's exactly what happened. I knew that Alvarez had a very good straight right It was his best fight," Beterbiev said.
“Predictions are a thankless task, but Alvarez has more chances [to win in the rematch]. He is the champion, he is on the rise."
And if Alvarez wins the rematch, would Beterbiev face him? Making that fight could be tricky - since both boxers are trained by the same coach, Marc Ramsay.
"With Alvarez, I train in the same room with the same coach. And here, you know, there may be issues in the organization [of this fight]. But still this is my potential opponent," Beterbiev said.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org