By Steve Kim
This Saturday night from the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy faces Sergey Kovalev as the main event of an HBO televised tripleheader from the Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden.
Around this time last year Shabranskyy suffered his first career loss as he was stopped in seven rounds by Sullivan Barrera.
On that particular night last December, he was hit repeatedly with booming right hands from the Cuban and sent to the canvas three times. Since that fateful night Shabranskyy has bounced back with two victories in 2017 and he now faces the sternest test of his career.
"I think going back to the Barrera fight, first of all, that wasn't Shabranskyy," said his trainer, Manuel Robles last week at Legendz Boxing gym in Norwalk, California.
"That wasn't the Shabranskyy that I know. Something went wrong that night, something wasn't clicking mentally. Physically he was prepared but something wasn't there that night. So I think that next Saturday, November 25th you're going to see a different Shabranskyy."
Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO's) has a set of heavy hands but also has been vulnerable defensively and been buzzed more than once. Regardless, Robles believes this fight can be a bit of a shoot-out.
"I think on both ends it's going to be more of a fight than a boxing match, "he states. "Everybody knows Shabranskyy likes to fight, we just have to be ready for Kovalev. We have to come in with a good game plan and get to work."
Also on the card, a high stakes light heavyweight clash as Barrera takes on Felix Valera. Barrera is currently the mandatory challenger to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol. And, a crossroads featherweight bout between former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa and tough contender Jason Sosa.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com