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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