Sergey Kovalev took part in a conference call to hype his March 29 fight in Atlantic City and on HBO against unknown Cedric Agnew, and an unexpected guest joined in the call, along with promoter Kathy Duva, matchmaker Jolene Mizzone, and Team Agnew (promoter Malcom Garrett and trainer Bill Benton).
Adonis Stevenson was present, as well.
OK, only in spirit, but the Canadian resident who seems to be on a collision course with Kovalev came up time and again during the 50 minute session on Thursday.
It was Kovalev himself, mostly, who talked about adding a title to his collection this year and it is Stevenson's he has his eyes set upon. No, the 30-year-old Kovalev didn't come off as someone who was looking past the vast underdog Agnew, but he and promoter Duva made clear that they desire Kovalev-Stevenson in a big way.
Duva called Kovalev "must see television," and wisely counseled all to not look past Agnew, who was a good amateur who has battled hand woes and anonymity problems. She said that fights need to unfold on canvas, not paper, and has been doing this too long to assume that Kovalev steamrolls his foe, who lives in Chicago and is training in Houston.
"Don't miss it, don't be late, you never know what's going to happen," she said. She gave ample credit for Agnew for seeking out this fight against a guy who makes Mizzone work that much harder, finding willing parties to test their chins against him.
Agnew came off as a serene gent, but livened up near the end of the call when he said he thought Kovalev is "pretty good, decent, nothing spectacular, actually I think he's ordinary."I don't look at him as no terminator, he's human just like I am, and can be hurt," he stated.
He said he knows he has the style to upset Kovalev.
The Stevenson name popped up, and Kovalev (23-0-1 with 21 KOs) was asked if he thinks the Canadian is scared of him. "Yes, I think so," he said. "The public, the fans want this fight..this year will be this fight I'm sure."
Promoter Duva smartly, for promotional purposes and in a useful refresher for all us know-it-alls reintroduced the concept of surprise, of the upset special, when she reminded, "There's no such thing as a sure thing in boxing."
She and Mizzone complimented the 27-year-old Agnew (26-0 with 13 KOs; best win versus fading Yusaf Mack) for lobbying for this fight, with Mizzone stating that Team Agnew has been after it since at least November.
Kovalev trainer John David Jackson took note of that lobbying effort, and said that tells him Agnew is a bit more dangerous than those thinking he'll get smeared in 30 seconds might know.
I do expect Agnew to suffer the same fate, though, as most Kovalev foes, as he hasn't been in with anyone of that ilk. So, talk of Kovalev's down the line plans again popped up. What about Andre Ward, Duva was asked.
"Someday, not at 168," she said.
And as for Stevenson being scared and playing duck duck goose with Kovalev, she took that head on: "I'm very confident we're going to get that fight made."
Asked about his dream fight, Kovalev mentioned, yep, you nailed, Adonis, saying, "I want Stevenson now."
Agnew's promoter Garrett said that fight will take place...but that Kovalev will be without his WBO belt, which will be strapped around Agnew's waist, when it happens.
I doubt it. But you don't know, until you actually know.
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