Sergey Kovalev believes that in the long term his boxing legacy will get additional shine if he defeats Canelo Álvarez this November 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but in the short term he believes that a victory will allow him to become as the main candidate to be the best fighter of the year.
On November 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Kovalev will defend the WBO light heavyweight title against Canelo, who will move up by two full weight divisions.
Canelo has already opened up as a 4-1 favorite to win the bout, as many experts view Kovalev as a fighter on the slide.
But a victory would make Kovalev a very strong candidate for Fighter of The Year - with victories over Eleider Alvarez and Anthony Yarde in 2019.
"Without a doubt this is the most important fight of my career. If I manage to beat Canelo I think I would be a candidate for the fighter of the year, but above all it would add shine to my legacy," Kovalev said to ESPN Deportes.
"I know that my legacy is already written, but beating a good fighter Canelo will elevate my time in boxing."
Kovalev agreed that it was no surprise to see a difference in stature with Canelo.
"Just as I saw him when we met in 2012, it was like that. He is still that small fighter, but with a lot of talent," said Kovalev.
"Without a doubt this fight is the most important of my career. I was not surprised that Canelo wanted the fight because he is young, he is very good, every year he is improving naturally, and I think at 160 he has to lose a lot of weight, but at 175 pounds it will be his natural weight, maybe it's even 180 pounds. He will feel comfortable.
The 36-year-old Russian puncher, with a record of 34-3-1 and 29 knockouts, will take no chances with the smaller man coming up.
"Many say his speed [is his best attribute], but I say that his defense is good, his abilities in general, his power, his speed, he has good leg movement, so that's why I must be ready on November 2, to get the best out of me against a good fighter," Kovalev said.