The Russian Invasion: Kovalev and Bivol on HBO

 During the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere famously yelled, “The British are coming, the British are coming”, alerting his American compatriots of imminent invasion. But in regards to the Light Heavyweight division, it’s much too late to signal such alarms., regarding the Light Heavyweight division. Not only have the Russians come, they’re reigning supreme at 175 pounds, with three of the four belt holders hailing from former Soviet-Bloc nations. This Saturday, March 3rd, two of those three will be in action on HBO’s World Championship Boxing, as Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol appear in separate contests. The show will air live from the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York, New York.  

Sometimes it's just what it is. Death, taxes, bills, the top of the morning trip to the bathroom; it is what it is. Same can be said for the power of Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KO’s), the most effortless puncher in the game. With some of Pugilism’s biggest bangers, it’s evident when they’re seeking maximum force on a particular shot, but the “Krusher” has always been a different breed. In the case of heavyweight destroyer, Deontay Wilder, his hurtful fistic intentions are obvious in the wind up and wild, winging delivery of every punch. Conversely, Sergey Kovalev’s arm motion is less deliberate, subtle, yet his hand grenades blast with as much lethal effect on impact.

Kovalev will be defending his WBO laurels against the unheralded Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KO’s), who will be making his American debut. This writer’s admittedly never seen Mikhalkin, but HBO’s smart about matching Kovalev in the post-Ward era. Hard to fathom Mikhalkin upsetting the apple-cart trending towards Russian unification of the 175-pound division. Kovalev should be on to the next one in five or fewer rounds.  

The more intriguing pairing of the card pits Dmitri Bivol (12-0, 10 KO’s) against Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s). Bivol has the makings of Boxing’s next dominant Light heavyweight, but the crafty Cuban Barrera will be his toughest test to date, by a substantial margin. Bivol probably should win, but Barrera’s skilled, experienced and tough enough to be a live underdog.   

 

 


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