Virgil Hunter, the head trainer for the recently retired Andre Ward, was not the least surprised that his boxer stopped Sergey Kovalev in their rematch back in June at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) retired with his undefeated record intact and also the WBA, IBF, WBO light heavyweight belts that he captured from Kovalev.
The first contest, from last November, saw Ward win a close and controversial twelve round unanimous decision over Kovalev, who exercised the option for an immediate rematch.
Prior to the rematch, Hunter made numerous predictions - promising that his boxer would stop Kovalev. And Ward fulfilled Hunter's promise with an eight round stoppage.
"There are people who are being realistic who realize that Kovalev was going to get stopped regardless of what they want to say finished the fight. He was done even before he got hurt with the right hand, he was pretty much done. If you listen to me in the corner after the seventh round was over, I told Andre to keep doing what he was doing and the fight would be over before ten. Kovalev was done, he had basically given up. He was going through the motions but he never fought anybody with that kind of tenacity," Hunter told On The Ropes Boxing Radio.
In the opinion of Hunter, Russian/Soviet fighters fall apart when they are placed in a contest where the going gets very tough and becomes a war of attrition. Hunter explained that history shows that he's right - and cited several high profile contests to back his opinion.
"If you look at the history of boxing, Russian fighters don’t do well when you put them in a dog fight, they just don’t do well. You can go to Kostya Tszyu and Ricky Hatton, you can go to Klitschko with Corey Sanders and Lamont Brewster. You can go on and on, you can go with Jirov against James Toney, who got him in a dog fight, and he conceded. That’s the history of the fight game when it comes to Soviet fighters in the pros when you put them in a dog fight, they give in. That’s not to say all of them do, but the names that I just put out there, they’ve done it," Hunter said.