Sergey Kovalev/Photo courtesy of Main Events Inc.
Fighters know they have to help promote their fights, so you’ll rarely hear any of them say they are about to take on an overmatched fighter because they know the viewership could suffer.
It therefore wasn’t surprising to hear what Sergey Kovalev said at Friday’s final news conference for his light heavyweight title defense against Isaac Chilemba on Monday in Kovalev’s native Russia (on HBO).
“The hardest time of my training camp is past now and I am going to give you good show,” Kovalev said. “My opponent, Chilemba, is very motivated and that is why he is so dangerous.”
Well, Kovalev is 29-0-1 with 26 knockouts and is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. That’s dangerous. Chilemba is 24-3-2 with just 10 knockouts and he’s coming off a majority-decision loss to contender Eleider Alvarez in November.
Anyway, Chilemba, of South Africa via Malawi, is also talking a good game.
“… This is my time, this is my destiny,” he said. “I believe I was destined to be WBO, WBA and IBF World Champion”
Those are the three belts Kovalev holds and will continue to hold after he knocks out Chilemba. Kovalev is then slated to take on Andre Ward on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward will take on Alexander Brand of Colombia in is own tune-up fight Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).