by Igor Lazorin, tass
Russian puncher Sergei Kovalev remains to be a dangerous force for a lot of his opponents, despite the many changes in his career and the change of coach, according to former two division world champion Bernard Hopkins.
Kovalev came back to the ring on Saturday night at The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City, where he blew out Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in two rounds to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) light heavyweight title. It was his first win after suffering back to back defeats to Andre Ward.
Hopkins knows Kovalev very well. The Russian fighter dropped and dominated him over twelve rounds in 2014, when they collided in a unification bout in Atlantic City.
After the fight, Hopkins and Kovalev began to communicate with each other, and their relationship grew into friendship.
"Sergei had the first fight with Andre Ward, then they had a rematch in which Kovalev, unfortunately, could not win," said Hopkins.
"But his career is not over, now he is rebuilding it and it's only in his power to do everything. Of course a lot of boxers want to be undefeated like Floyd Mayweather, but 90 percent of them will lose sooner or later. Sergei at some point got what he did not have before - fame, money, fans, but now fate has given him one more opportunity.
"Although he is certainly not the youngest guy, he is not an old man, he is still dangerous for a lot of opponents. Sergei can box at the highest level for at least four more years and be at the top. Perhaps, it's possible that he goes to cruiserweight? Who knows.
In November 2016, Kovalev lost a controversial twelve round decision, and his WBO, WBA, IBF world titles, to Ward. They held a rematch in June of this year, which saw Ward gain an eight round stoppage.
After those defeats, Kovalev (31-2, 27 KOs) replaced his head trainer John David Jackson, and he is now being prepared by Abror Tursunpulatov.