As we all know, Adonis Stevenson defends the lineal Light Heavyweight Championship against Andrzej Fonfara on Saturday night. This bout was initially to serve as a springboard for a fall date with Sergey Kovalev. However, that fight is off the table with Stevenson's signing with Al Haymon and subsequent move to Showtime.
We often discuss the Cold War between Top Rank and Golden Boy that has prevented many fights from occurring. HBO's decision to shut out Golden Boy and subsequently Al Haymon fighters is less talked about but also preventing many top fights. Remember, Kovalev is with Main Events who is not involved in the Top Rank-Golden Boy feud.
Kovalev is fast becoming the biggest victim of HBO's decision not to do business with Golden Boy and Haymon fighters. Why? Well look at the Light Heavyweight division. We have Hopkins (Golden Boy), Stevenson (Haymon), Pascal (Haymon), Dawson (Haymon), even Shumenov (Golden Boy).
Golden Boy/Haymon has virtually taken away all of Kovalev's biggest opponents.
Right now, the biggest name for Kovalev is Andre Ward. But Ward is tied in litigation with his promoter Dan Goosen. And this does not appear to have a quick end in sight. Ward is publicly stating he wants to fight but that might not be realistic at the moment.
So lets assume Ward is out for the moment. The biggest names left at 175 not with Golden Boy/Haymon are Juergen Braehmer (not likely at all), Tavoris Cloud (possible but not likely given recent performances), Karo Murat and Isaac Chilemba.
My guess is HBO probably does not have an interest in televising any of those possible bouts.
So we turn to 168. Carl Froch fights George Groves in a week. The winner will get some consideration for Kovalev. If Groves wins, I don't see him going that route. But if Froch wins, its more of a possibility (though I think a fight with Chavez is more likely).
Some may say Lucian Bute may be an option but it appears he is geared at the moment on a Pascal rematch. Can't blame him either, probably more money and would be less an underdog than against Kovalev.
One name left I think to keep an eye on is Mikkel Kessler. He recently announced his intentions to resume his career. He is a name and HBO loves him. Plus his style would make for a fun fight albeit he'd be a pretty substantial underdog.
That's it, very limited options for Kovalev. Its unfortunate as I think he is truly an emerging superstar in the prime of his career.
I do think Froch is a longer shot but not necessarily out of the question. He has stated in the past his desire for one more big fight in the US. I think his option A is Chavez but if that fight can't be made Kovalev may become a possibility.
As for Caparello, I did see the rumors. But from what I saw they were from his promoter pushing for the opportunity.
It's definitely not out of the question if HBO can't make a Kessler fight work at this point. But also shows how few opponents Kovalev has to choose from.
Caparello is not a bad fighter but still relatively unrpoven. His best wins were in his last two fights against faded opponents Allan Green and Elvir Muriqi. Not necessarily qualifications for an HBO headlining opponent under normal circumstances. But then again probably is a much better fighter than Kovalev's last foe, Cedric Agnew.
Right now, I think Caparello's name is out there because his promoter is floating it out there. But if nobody else steps up (a distinct possibility), he may end up getting the fight.
There's really no basis for believing Froch will be taking on Kovalev at 175lbs, it's not going to happen, the dude is ducking the small Golovkin because he hits so hard, he's just not getting in the ring with Kovalev. GGG will earn him more £ anyway.
I admit, the Kovalev fight is a long shot at best. Its not entirely out of the question if the chips fall correctly, though. But I don't think Froch is ducking anyone either. Look at his resume and the time when he fought some of the fighters he fought. Most were in their prime and very dangerous fights. The man has arguably the best resume in the sport at the moment.
Froch might not be the most skilled but he ducks no one. Froch will get in the ring against any top man. Froch is closing out his Hall of Fame resume and he certainly wants some big money making fights. A Chavez Jr fight would pay him a ransom. When he gets by Groves would Ward give him a rematch in the UK? It would be the biggest money Ward has ever seen.
The biggest money fights for Froch if he gets by Groves are:
1) Chavez Jr.
2) Ward in the UK.
3) Golovkin at The Garden.
4) Kovelev anywhere.
A man with this resume ducks no one:
Bobcat, they will throw Stevenson leftovers at him so he can have a chance to outshine AS.
And I disagree about Kessler being both an option and an underdog. Kessler is a natural middleweight. He's said he would move down for Martinez. He doesn't really have any business at light heavy.
THAT SAID I know that man's abilities, I know his psyche and I know his skills. I've been in the gym when he's sparred, I've worked with the man OUTSIDE BOXING, and I've seen his fights.
He will tear Kovalev's a$$ to pieces. TO PIECES! TO SHREDS! People will be surprised and I really don't know why.
Kessler-Golovkin? That's a toss-up. Golovkin used to tear 3K's behind up in sparring to the point where it was psychologically damaging to Kovalev.
Mikkel Kessler is a guy who's been "cursed" by the limited style which he has been taught. Fortunately, he's mastered that style to the point where he can beat any conventional fighter. Only problem is he has to be in rhythm to fight.
To continue my musical analogy from the other day, Kessler is a maestro. But he's not a jazzman. This is why he lost to master jazz guys like Ward and Calzaghe -- and always will.
(The reason he lost to Froch the last time around was due to -- and I hate to say this because it's bulls*** that he would let this happen -- not being 110% up for the fight for the single fact that he likes Carl Froch. And that's the truth.
He let himself get pushed into this fight and was only there physically not spiritually. Kessler is like 99% of Danes -- hugely susceptible to mental fluctuations that manifest in their performance.
I saw that happening before the fight in his interviews, I saw it during the fight in his body language by 1) trying to be buddy with a mercenary like Froch, 2) not answering rough stuff and 3) having "mercy" (textbook Danish BS), and finally after the fight by going into seclusion and mini-retirement.)
But Kovalev? He would get iced. Allan Green style. At worst, it would be like the first Froch fight. Kovalev also has mental deficiencies/windows for self-doubt to creep in that can be exploited (which is why they better keep that boy from Ward).
Kessler is a great, great boxer who's added a new defensive dimension to his game. He's a tremendous counter puncher, he's developed a sinister left hook, his bodywork is outstanding and his straight punches are truly elite.
His weaknesses -- mental, infighting, lack of improvisation -- is nothing Kovalev can expose. GGG may. But Kovalev won't. Not at this point, anyway.