Shabranskyy: Kovalev is More Dangerous After TKO Loss to Ward

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Maybe it’s because Vyacheslav Shabranskyy knows Andre Ward was the best boxer in the world at that time.

Perhaps it’s because he has lost a bout by knockout, too, and thus realizes it can happen to any fighter if he isn’t properly prepared or careful or, worse yet, both.

Whatever his rationale, Shabranskyy doesn’t consider Sergey Kovalev damaged goods now that he has been stopped by Ward. The Ukrainian contender expects to encounter a hungry, vicious Kovalev when they fight for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.


“He’s still a dangerous fighter,” Shabranskyy said prior to a press conference Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. “Yeah, he lost. But now he’s more dangerous than before because he lost.”

The 34-year-old Kovalev indeed is eager to not only regain the WBO 175-pound championship he lost to Ward, but to restore his reputation. The Russian knockout artist’s critics contend he was on the verge of quitting in his rematch with Ward, even before Ward’s blows below Kovalev’s belt prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop their second bout in the eighth round June 17 in Las Vegas.

Shabranskyy didn’t directly answer when asked whether he thinks Kovalev quit. His trainer, Manny Robles, suspects the end was near that night, even if Ward hadn’t hit Kovalev low.

“That’s a touchy subject, but personally, [I think] it was a matter of time,” Robles said. “It was just a question of time for the referee to come in and stop the fight, because I noticed that prior to the referee stopping the fight, he was starting to deteriorate. … I feel the referee stepped in at the right time. Nobody knows where his mind was, what he was thinking, the type of camp he had, preparation, etcetera. And they’re human.”

That said, like Shabranskyy, Robles doesn’t view Kovalev as an easy mark now that he has been stopped by the retired Ward (32-0, 16 KOs).

“My opinion of Kovalev has not changed,” Robles said. “Kovalev is a great, great fighter. He’s a great ambassador to the sport and we’re expecting the best Kovalev. And that’s the reason why we went out and got the best possible sparring we could with [Dmitry] Bivol and [David] Benavidez. We’re treating this fight for what it is, a world title fight.”

The scheduled 12-round bout between Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) and Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) will headline HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader Saturday night (10 p.m. ET).

The first two fights are scheduled for 10 rounds.

The co-feature will match light heavyweights Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) and Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KOs). The opener of the telecast will pit Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) against Yuriorkis Gamboa (27-2, 17 KOs) in a super featherweight fight.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing. 

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by TreJac on 11-25-2017

I'm interested in seeing how Kov bounces back from the Ward loses! He's no longer looked at as a monster anymore so he's going to have to dig deep from here on out!

Comment by MrClutch85 on 11-25-2017

Shabranskyy has a punchers chance I think Kovalev will win by tko/ko

Comment by Andrij on 11-25-2017

And I saw at all the staredowns that you were intimidated by Kovalev every time. You lost the fight already mentally.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines Savannah Marshall Added To Fury vs. Pulev Card Amir Khan: Did You See The Size of Canelo When He Fought Me?! Gallagher Expects Smith To Peak, Shine Against George Groves Chocolatito's Options To Be Evaluated, Yafai Not Ruled Out Lemieux: Golovkin is Not The Same, Rematch Would Be Different Arum: Lomachenko Wants Mikey Garcia Fight Right After Pedraza Frank Warren: I Had Golovkin Beating Canelo By Three Rounds Anthony Joshua Won't Chase a KO: I've Got To Be Clever Now Kevin Johnson Feels Experience Edge May Down Daniel Dubois Hearn: I'm Quite Worried, Povetkin is Tough Fight For Joshua David Benavidez Makes No Excuses, Apologizes For Failed Test Golovkin's Coach: Canelo Vindicated Himself For Positive Tests Energy Execs Glove Up To Knock Out Child Sexual Abuse Frank Warren: Frampton-Warrington is Not Two Recycled Guys DAZN, The New Kid On The Block, Ready For Boxing Kickoff Canelo's Possible Return: December 15 Reserved at MSG, MGM Nacho: Canelo Did Great, But I Think Golovkin Won WBC Prez: Canelo Deserved The Win in Golovkin Rematch David Benavidez Comes Up Positive For Cocaine in VADA Test Wilder vs. Fury Promotional Tour is Ready, Reveals Frank Warren Pacquiao: Me and Mayweather Have Unfinished Business! Encarnacion, Michael Rivera, Starling Castillo Ink With Sampson Photos: Jacobs, Andrade, Haney Training Hard at SNAC Facility Roman Gonzalez Returns Home, Open To Fighting Again in 2018 British Title News: Welborn vs. Heffron, Iqbal-Camacho, More Cem Kilic vs. DeAndre Ware Will Open ShoBox Card on Sept. 28 Michael Dutchover Learning On The Job From Danny Roman Juanma Joins Team of Jayson Velez, Hits Back at Orlando Cruz Antonio Orozco To Remain at 140, May Return in February Malignaggi: McGregor Should've Retired, Khabib Makes Him Quit! Billy Joe Saunders Handed Misconduct Charge By The BBBoC Yvan Mendy Will Go For The Knockout Against Luke Campbell Anthony Joshua: I Wanted To Show I Can Box Against Parker Golovkin Will Likely Rest, Evaluate Options For 2019 Arum: Spence Doesn't Want Crawford; We're Ready When He Is Canelo vs. Golovkin: CompuBox Stat Analysis of Both Fights Hearn: Povetkin Had Loads of PED Tests For Joshua Fight Darren Reay, Chad Ellis Added To Ritson-Pianeta Newcastle Card Photos: Matty Askin Putting in Work For Lawrence Okolie Clash Povetkin: Joshua is a Bigger Challenge Than 'Prime' Klitschko

Latest Active Forum Threads