No, it didn't go to plan. I mean, it sort of did, they knew the kid was in super tough. But his trainer, and his co-manager thought and hoped that Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi, if he left the ring Saturday night as the loser after fighting Sergey Kovalev, his rep would be burnished, not diminished. As it was, after getting knocked out in round three, Mohammedi basically joins a list of fellas who found out that the Krusher's nickname is applicable and he'll need to get another opportunity to make the impact he hopes he would.
Cedric Agnew, Blake Caparello, Nadjib Mohammedi, they had high hopes but those hopes exploded like a Kovalev right which rattled their brain pain.
Trainer Abel Sanchez told me after that Mo told him he was sorry, that the pain in the eye socket of his left eye was unbearable. “We were fighting the best light heavy in world, we were supposedly at 100 to 1 odds. I would have liked to see a couple more rounds. The third round had a good beginning until he caught a thumb in the eye. The pain was unbearable. He will see a specialist (today) in LA.”
So, what was the main issue and problem…the strength of Kovalev? “No, it wasn't strength, it was more that he is the best in this division and this was Nadjib's first titme on this big stage, so it was more a combination of things. But I thought nobody expecting anything of him would at least relax him. I thought after the second round he'd start to loosen up, mentally, so I would have liked a couple more rounds.”
I asked co-manager Vince Caruso for his takeaways from the event. “I'm not gonna stop working with Mo, first of all,” he said. “Am I happy with his performance, absolutely not. If he did this versus Dudchenko, or whatever, then I probably wouldn't be working with him anymore. Mo is in his prime, he was in the best shape of his life, his game plan was amazing, but saying ain't doing, with Kovalev, he's that good, and we knew that. I never said we'd win this fight, I said we can win…Mo didn't impose his will and like everybody else but maybe Darnell Boone, he was timid, he was intimidated by his presence. I told him that…When Stevens and Macklin fought Golovkin, they were scared, Macklin was terrified, Mo was not terrified, he wasn't scared, but he was intimidated, because he couldn't get inside. He tried to get inside, Kovalev dropped a right, and it was a telling punch. Kovalev is a very respectful guy, he didn't badmouth him after. Mo had 40 fights, some jerk after did say he didn't belong, he did belong there. To say he was undeserving, I don't like that…he went down from three hard punches, he got up, he started swinging back. He has heart. He was hit by a thumb in the eye. He couldn't see. Even if not, he could have lost every round…He's a second tier fighter, he wants to be a first tier, he wants to prove himself….I will talk to Kathy Duva about a fight with Sean Monaghan, he wants to fight Braehmer, but that might not happen; Nadjib will be ready to go in October or November. We would see if Monaghan is the real deal. It's a great way to keep Mo relevant. I'd hate to see him drop off.”