By Luke Furman
Andrei Ryabinsky, promoter for WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, believes Sergey Kovalev has slowed down at the age of 35.
Last weekend in Atlantic City, both Bivol and Kovalev were in action as part of an HBO televised doubleheader.
The card was put together to set up a year-end clash between Kovalev and Bivol.
Bivol won a tough twelve round decision over Isaac Chilemba.
But Kovalev suffered a stunning knockout loss to Eleider Alvarez, who dropped the Russian boxer three times to capture the WBO world title in seventh round of action.
"Victories are not always formed by knockouts, sometimes twelve round battles speak about the level of the boxer. First, you need to go the distance, it's difficult. Secondly, it is in these types of fights that the potential is revealed. Dmitry did everything in one swoop. He demonstrated that he was ready for even bigger battles, he has great potential at this weight," Ryabinsky said to Vasily Konov.
"It's too early to talk about any goals for the future. We are interested in any fight that would allow us to unify our belts, Alvarez is a good opponent, a good goal. Dmitry is quite ambitious.
"Sergey is not my boxer, but we are friends, I treat him very well. I can only note one positive point from what happened - that Bivol and Kovalev did not really want to fight each other, because they are Russian boxers, both of them are my friends. I did not want either fighter to get beaten by the other - there is always someone else to beat.
"I would not rush and make any kind of a hasty statement like saying that Kovalev needs to finish his career. He is a boxer of the highest class, he's had a crazy career, all of these fights with Andre Ward where the refereeing was controversial, but the fact of the matter is - that unfortunately he has slowed down a little."