During a recent edition of “On The Ropes” I had a chance to speak with undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, to discuss his upcoming title defense against Cedric Agnew, and the light heavyweight division. Sergey spoke in detail about his fight and the opportunity to headline an HBO card for the first time. Sergey also gave his views on champions Bernard Hopkins and Adonis Stevenson, and if he thinks he might meet either in the ring. Additionally Kovalev talked about who he thinks is the toughest challenger for Floyd Mayweather Jr, and also gave his official prediction for his fight this Saturday night. Here is what Sergey Kovalev had to say.
Jenna J: Sergey, you have an upcoming fight at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City; you will be defending your WBO light heavyweight title against Cedric Agnew. What do you think of the fight ahead?
Sergey Kovalev: I feel like my next fight is a very important fight, the defense of my title. I want to be still champion of the world and I’m doing everything for my win.
Jenna: Cedric Agnew is relatively unknown, what are your thoughts on him as the opponent, and do you think the fact that he is unknown makes him more dangerous?
Kovalev: Yes, I know nothing about him. It’s dangerous that I don’t have information about him. I don’t know what his style is. I can check just who he’s fought and no more. For me it doesn’t matter, it will be more interesting for me that I don’t know his style or anything. For me it will be a surprise, it’s interesting to go to the ring and get the next win.
Jenna: You are headlining the HBO fight card, this is your first time being listed as the main attraction on the network. How important is it for you to keep your momentum and does this add any extra pressure for you?
Kovalev: For me it’s a very important thing because it’s a very big respect to HBO and to my promoting company–Main Events and Kathy Duva and her team. It’s a good job and I want to show what I can do in the ring for the main event fight.
Jenna: So far in your career you are 23-0, with 21 stoppage wins, and you have gained a reputation as being one of the most feared punchers in boxing. How do you feel about your reputation and your career so far?
Kovalev: I feel good but I’m going to the ring not for any KO, I just go to the ring to get the next win and boxing. If it will be a KO I will be happy, if I score a decision I will be happy too. For me it doesn’t matter–KO or decision–but KO is better for an easy fight.
Jenna: Do you think opponents have been avoiding you, for your reputation as a puncher?
Kovalev: Right now my next opponent, Cedric Agnew, he has not avoided. He’s gonna fight with me and I think he will be ready to fight and we’ll see what he can show against me.
Jenna: Sergey, you took an interesting road to a title, as you would have had a chance to face Bernard Hopkins, but instead fought Nathan Cleverly. Why did you choose Cleverly over Hopkins?
Kovalev: Because Hopkins didn’t answer my call for a long time. Cleverly offered to fight with me and I said, “Yes, I’m ready.” If I didn’t say yes to Cleverly and still waited for Hopkins, and Hopkins can say, “No, I don’t wanna fight with Sergey.” I could have lost an opportunity to fight for a title.
Jenna: Do you think it might actually hurt you being a champion, as now fighters that might have been forced to face you as a mandatory, can avoid you?
Kovalev: All title holders in my division are already gone to Showtime, everybody avoided a fight with me. We’ll see what will be in the future, but right now I have focus on my next fight. HBO is a great company and they will make everything for my career, and also my promoter Kathy Duva is a great promoter and she will make everything the best for my career.
Jenna: The fight that everyone says is one of the biggest to be made in boxing right now, is a fight between you and Adonis Stevenson. Do you think he will ever want to have that unification fight with you?
Kovalev: I don’t know what he wants, Adonis Stevenson. He just speaks a lot and no fight. If he’s a real champion he’s gonna fight with me. If he’s not gonna fight with me, he’s not a champion, he like Superman from cartoons.
Jenna: If you two were to meet in the ring, honestly how do you think that fight plays out? From the start, to the finish, what happens?
Kovalev: I will knock him out, 100%. It’s an easy fight.
Jenna: Even though Stevenson beat Chad Dawson to become the Ring champion at 175, do you think he can really be considered the champion of the weight class without beating the other champions or yourself?
Kovalev: I think a real champion in my division is Hopkins because he’s a very big legend and he has a lot of experience in boxing, he’s a very experienced man. Stevenson doesn’t want to fight with me, only for big money.
If you’re a real champion you don’t need to go just for money, but he’s asking big money because he understands that after this fight his career is done, after a fight with me. Shumenov too, he didn’t fight one and a half years and WBA give him super champion title. It’s very strange for me.
Jenna: Bernard Hopkins has a unification fight April 19th against Beibut Shumenov. What are your thoughts on Hopkins being the oldest champion at 49, and also what do you think of his upcoming fight, who wins?
Kovalev: I think this fight for Hopkins will be an easy fight because he’s smarter, he’s dirtier. He’s a dirty fighter and very smart. Shumenov is simple, I don’t think that Shumenov is professional like Hopkins. Hopkins is more experienced and he will get a win and the next title, easy.
Jenna: Sergey, fans feel the biggest challenge to Floyd Mayweather is Gennady Golovkin, you’ve trained with Golovkin before. What are your thoughts on Floyd as a fighter, and do you think Golovkin is the biggest threat to his undefeated record?
Kovalev: You know, Gennady and Mayweather are two different fighters. Mayweather has very good defense, Gennady has a very good punch and condition. It’s two powers against each other, it’s interesting for me too. Right now, I don’t know what I can say about who will win. I’m sure that will be a very interesting fight and very intriguing fight.
Jenna: What is your official prediction for the fight March 29th against Cedric Agnew, what can the fans expect?
Kovalev: I’m gonna go to the ring March 29th to get the next win. I’m gonna just box him, just box him and show what I came to do and what I did in the gym. I think the world of boxing misses me already.
A lot of fans miss me and write me text messages and tell me on the street, “when is your next fight? We wanna watch you on TV.” I have only one answer, March 29 on HBO. Welcome to HBO and to the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.