Does SERGEY KOVALEV Really, Truly, Believe in Himself?

Photo credit : David Spagnolo

We Americans tend to be an ego-centric bunch. We brag about our exceptionalism, morally, spiritually, physically, and tend to gloss over evidence that suggests we are the abyss that we sanctimoniously deplore and decry.

That’s my take, anyway…

And that understanding helps remind me when I too am indulging in nationalistic egocentricity and autonomic back-patting, that people from other cultures don’t necessarily think and act and speak as we do, and thus, it’s incumbent upon me as a reporter to try and recognize when a cultural difference is in play. Such as…I’ve been hearing over the last few months Sergey Kovalev saying that he knows the Saturday fight against Bernard Hopkins will be difficult, how he will do his best, but how he cannot know what the outcome will be.

His wording has struck me as curious, especially for a fighter with the style he possesses i.e. his power is far above average.  Such as when he said, “I want to get some experience from this fight that can make me better for another fight.” Such as when he was asked, ‘Why do you think you are going to win?’ and he answered, “I don’t think – I am sure. No, I am kidding. I am sure in myself. I believe in me. In my mind I am strong, but this is boxing and I don’t what is going to happen.”

Man has knocked out 23 of the 25 foes set in front of him. Respect for the ability to defend possessed by Hopkins, one of the best defensive fighters of any and all eras, aside, I would THINK that Kovalev would be advertising his confidence. I would think he’d be promising to destruct and destroy, to be the first man to drop and stop the youngest old man in the whole sports world. But no…So in an effort to dig deeper, get a better handle on the man and his plan and his character, I asked Kovalev about his word choice.

How come you don’t tell us all that you know you are going to win, Sergey? Do you know in your heart you will beat Hopkins?

“I don’t know what will happen November 8,” he answered. “Because this is sport, this is boxing. Who will be ready for this fight better will get the chance to be undisputed champion. I’m ready to be undisputed champion. That’s my goal for this year. The whole year has been good for me and I wish to end this year on a happy note.”

No promises, meant to signify true confidence, or bolster one’s own lagging belief in self, or intended to send a message to undermine a foe. Just truth, not brutal or buzzworthy…

To his credit, to his immense credit, in a world which increasingly encourages us to traffic in facades, to present a brave and false face on social media, of constant joy and serenity and enthusiasm, Kovalev don’t play that. He doesn’t know what will happen Nov. 8, doesn’t know if the old man has more tricks of the trade in his quiver than the Russian has bombs in his gloves…and he isn’t deluding himself, or feeling it necessary to try and convince himself and us otherwise. Does it make people who back him to expose the alien as a homo sapien feel safer in their pick? No. But props to Mr. Kovalev, for keeping it real. There is a dearth of that on this planet, and every little bit helps.

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Wow! Nice writing and even nicer keeping it real. Holla!


-Froggy :

I think that is a nice attitude Kovalev has ! In the rumble in the jungle some people were seriously worried about Ali's health if not his life facing the huge puncher Foreman ! Foreman hinself must have believed what everyone was saying, so imagine how he felt after 6 or 7 rounds and Ali was not only standing but doing very well while Foreman was reaching the point of exaustion ! It doesn't sound like the same thing will happen to Kovalev !


-The Commish :

I think that is a nice attitude Kovalev has ! In the rumble in the jungle some people were seriously worried about Ali's health if not his life facing the huge puncher Foreman ! Foreman hinself must have believed what everyone was saying, so imagine how he felt after 6 or 7 rounds and Ali was not only standing but doing very well while Foreman was reaching the point of exaustion ! It doesn't sound like the same thing will happen to Kovalev !
We just don't know if that will happen to Kovalev. None of us could have remotely thought George Foreman was going to be like a windup doll in there against Muhammad Ali 40 years ago and punch himself into total exhaustion. How do we know that won't happen to Kovalev? He may shoot everything he's got in the first three, four, five rounds, only to find himself getting blocked, missing or getting tagged in return. Or, he may be leading early on, only to run out of gas late and have B-Hop come on to win the last four rounds of the fight and take the decision. Kovalev is right. This is boxing. As our man Radam keeps saying, "Boxing is the theatre of the unexpected." -Randy G.


-spit bucket :

I like SK's perspective and honesty. It takes much more confidence to see the world as it truly is than to deceive one's self into a belief of invincibility. Braggadocio is fear-based whereas a calm assessment of reality is not.


-deepwater2 :

I think he truly believes in himself. He traveled to another country with no command of the language, fought for free for 3 years or so, and looks like he is working hard and is the real deal. Hopkins believes in himself but did he believe in himself enough back in the 90's when he could of went to Europe and fought Eubank,Benn or Collins? These two men truly believe in themselves and this should be a great fight. I expect a changing of the guard if no fouls are committed.


-The Commish :

I think he truly believes in himself. He traveled to another country with no command of the language, fought for free for 3 years or so, and looks like he is working hard and is the real deal. Hopkins believes in himself but did he believe in himself enough back in the 90's when he could of went to Europe and fought Eubank,Benn or Collins? These two men truly believe in themselves and this should be a great fight. I expect a changing of the guard if no fouls are committed.
Did you say "no fouls?" In a Hopkins' fight? No fouls? I'd better go back and read that again. I'm sure I read it wrong! -Randy G.


-deepwater2 :

Did you say "no fouls?" In a Hopkins' fight? No fouls? I'd better go back and read that again. I'm sure I read it wrong! -Randy G.
HaHa I should of said the Ref won't call the fouls on Hopkins but the Ref might disqualify Sk for retaliation. Hopkins will be in close so the head will be a factor.


-Pazuzu :

I think it was Gary Shteyngart who noted that if you ask an American how he is doing, he'll lie and say, "Great!," while a Russian presented with the same question will give you a litany of everything that's going wrong in his life. There's something to be said for a certain amount of pessimism...it can motivate us to prepare, improve. The more relentless the hounds of fate that bay at your heels, the more relentless your drive to steel yourself for the inevitable fight. I think Hopkins will test Kovalev is a way he hasn't been tested before. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the psychological challenge. I expect he's going to show up ready to bang. Either way, it should be a hell of a fight.