Rising light heavyweight prospect Sergey “The Crusher” Kovalev (20-0-1, 18 KOs) destroyed veteran Gabriel Campillo (21-5, 8 KOs) in just three rounds Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. The bout was the main event of NBC Sports Network’s televised Fight Night card.
Kovalev was the aggressor right from the beginning. He stalked Campillo around the ring and let his hands go whenever he got him in the corner or on the ropes, which was just too much for Campillo’s liking. The usually slick southpaw did his best to try and make Kovalev miss, but the latter’s volume was just too much. Kovalev used a stiff jab in the second and alternated moving backward and forwards with equal success. Campillo did his best to establish his jab, but Kovalev landed hard shots upstairs and down to get the better of it.
Kovalev poured it on in the third and battered Campillo with a sharp right hand to the post and down to his knees. Campillo beat the count but was then pummeled back to the other side of the ring before Kovalev landed the finishing shot, another hard right hand which sent Campillo down and out for good. The fight was officially halted at 1:30 or round three by referee Michael Ortega.
Compubox numbers showed Kovalev landed 55 power punches to just 4 for Campillo while also outlanding him overall 77 to 13.
“I see just a target,” Kovalev said as he described his dominant win via big screen replay to Chris Mannix. Kovalev said he is eager to fight “any champion” next, and mentioned Tavoris Cloud, Bernard Hopkins and Nathan Cleverly by name.
In the co-main event, middleweight Curtis Stevens (23-3, 17 KOs) knocked out Elvin Ayala (26-6-1, 12 KOs) in the very first round. It was a jabbing contest early. Stevens seemed to have had enough of it after only half a round and stepped things up from there. Both fighters seemed willing enough to close the distance, but it was Stevens who closed the show. As Ayala tried to match his opponent’s aggression, he was promptly floored by a crushing counter left hook. Ayala got to his feet but was visibly shaken. Stevens could see it, and he leapt in quickly after Ayala had risen against the count to finish him. Stevens pounded his opponent up against ropes before dropping him again in mere seconds to seal the win. The bout was stopped at 1:10, after which there was a bit of a ruckus as an overzealous ringside fan hopped into the ring to spring upon Stevens back in jubilation as he climbed up the corner ropes to celebrate. The man was quickly pried away from his conquering hero and after a bit of a melee, order was restored.
Because of the quick KO, middleweight swing bouters Jimmy Williams (1-0, 1 KO) and Noel Garcia (2-17, 2 KOs) were called upon to entertain the television audience in a scheduled four-rounder. Garcia was fighting well above his natural weight. Most of his previous bouts were fought at a welter. The taller and naturally larger Williams established his jab and long right hand early. The fight was fought at that distance until Garcia realized he’d have no chance at earning a win with that approach, so the shorter, stockier fighter went into tough guy mode and began trying to make it a brawl. Williams used the newfound aggression against his opponent and scored a knockdown in the third. The game Garcia dusted himself off and finished out the round. Williams ended the fight in the next round with a brutal left hook that left Garcia down and out in the corner. The referee immediately called for the end when he hit the floor. He was out. He made it to his feet after the bell sounded, though, and was seen laughing and hugging the victor, Williams, as the announcer read the particulars.