Fightful Boxing Newsletter (8/29/2019): Kovalev Beats Yarde, Will He Face Canelo, Boxing TV Ratings

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (8/29/2019) Table Of Contents:

  1. Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde Results; Will We See Canelo vs. Kovalev Next? (Page 1)
  2. Boxing Television Viewership Through July vs. Prior Years (Page 2)
  3. Peltz Boxing To Celebrate 50 Years With Philadelphia Show In October (Page 3)
  4. Fightful Boxing Rankings August 29, 2019 (Pages 4-5)
  5. PBC on FS1, DAZN Results (Page 6)

Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde Results; Will We See Canelo vs. Kovalev Next?

For weeks, the idea of Sergey Kovalev facing Canelo Alvarez next has always been an interesting one, mainly for the purpose of seeing Alvarez jump from middleweight all the way to light heavyweight.

Yet instead, Kovalev ended up fighting Anthony Yarde, but now a potential Kovalev vs. Alvarez seems almost like a sure thing after Kovalev knocked out Yarde. Kovalev returned to his home country for a fight for the first time since 2016 and survived a massive scare in the eighth round to eventually knock out Yarde in the 11th round to retain his WBO light heavyweight title.

The story heading into the fight was the bizarre training regimen that Yarde had, mainly the lack of any sparring whatsoever. Yarde wasn’t someone who has experience facing top level competition and barely had any amateur experience. The fact that he had no sparring was a gamble pretty much everyone predicted would backfire and it did.

After Yarde was able to seriously hurt Kovalev in the eighth round and nearly stopped him, Yarde quickly gassed out and barely able to put up a fight for the remainder of the fight, resulting it Kovalev landing a hard left jab to knock him out.

There are plenty of takeaways from this fight for both fighters. For Yarde, one can clearly see why Yarde holds a lot of promise in many people’s eyes, but his many, many deficiencies were shown. For starters, the idea of not sparring before a fight should never be considered again. Secondly, Yarde has to work on his stamina, footwork and defense, all factors in Yarde losing the fight.

But perhaps most important of all is the need for Yarde to get more experience in the ring, whether it be from fighting other top caliber opponents or from sparring. With Yarde having more pro fights than amateur fights, he is still extremely green in the ring and that was evident in the fight against Kovalev. While Yarde may end up being a world champion in the end, he never faced anyone that could prepare for such a fight.

Despite all of that, he was potentially seconds away from beating Kovalev, which is something to be admired and if one were to look at Yarde after the fight, they can see that this fight taught him a lot about being a pro boxer and going about preparing for the big fights. Whether or not he applies what he learned in that fight for the future is an entirely different question.

Now Kovalev must potentially deal with less than 10 weeks in order to face Alvarez. As it stands, the current round of negotiations have Alvarez’s camp aiming to have the fight take place on November 2. From the Kovalev camp’s viewpoint, November 2 wouldn’t be much of an issue, but it is hard to ignore the fact that Kovalev will have virtually zero rest time and prepare for one of the biggest fights of his career.

What will get Kovalev to defend his title in the span of less than three complete months is the fact that the amount of money he will get will be tremendous at this stage of his career. Though the amount of money offered by Golden Boy Promotions might not have changed too much from what was offered in their first round of negotiations, the dynamics of those finances have changed.

No longer does a fight over Yarde loom over Kovalev’s head and that means no step-aside fee (which I could estimate being in the high six figures or low seven figures) will be paid to both Yarde and promoter Frank Warren. This opens up some more money to be paid directly to Kovalev’s camp which will further entice him to take the challenge against Alvarez.

It’s really all a legacy fight for Alvarez. He’s already punched his ticket into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the fight against Kovalev would simply be him trying to get another championship in another weight class, which would make it three divisional titles (although everyone from Alvarez to DAZN to Golden Boy Promotions will claim four divisions but that is because Alvarez holds a secondary title at super middleweight).

Though this fight is not set in stone, the feeling between both sides is that the second round of negotiations will go much smoother than the first time. November 2 is the date being thrown around, but don’t be surprised if the fight was pushed back until later in the month if talks stall for a bit.

Briefly talking about the card in Chelyabinsk (which apparently drew a crowd of 7500 according to the ESPN+ broadcast), the three-fight main card on ESPN+ was a solid event that featured a cruiserweight bout between Ilunga Makabu and Aleksei Papin that ended up being one of the more entertaining fights of the week. Makabu, the WBC Silver champion, has now made a strong case to be the best cruiserweight contender in the world today, but he won’t get a title shot until 2020 due to the timing of the World Boxing Super Series and Krzysztof Glowacki getting a shot at the tournament winner immediately afterwards.

Top Rank on ESPN+ August 24 Results:

  • Sergey Kovalev defeated Anthony Yarde by KO, round 11, 2:04 to retain the WBO light heavyweight title (Fightful had Kovalev winning 97-93 at the time of the stoppage): At first, Yarde's speed kept him in the fight through the opening four rounds as Kovalev was still trying to figure him out. Kovalev then utilized his jab to throw off Yarde's rhythm and Yarde didn't have an answer for it throughout the entire fight. It wasn't until the seventh round where Yarde would piece together a string of hard body shots that not only hurt Kovalev but almost stopped him entirely in what would have been a major comeback. Yarde, however, was not able to use his momentum to win the fight and started to get tired out by the time the ninth round began. After trainer Buddy McGirt threatened to stop the fight if Kovalev didn't do anything to get back into the fight, Kovalev worked the jab once more and Yarde was still unable to defend well against it. Once the 11th round began, Yarde was gasping for air and barely able to stay vertical. Kovalev then would score a big left jab around two minutes into the round and knock Yarde out to win the fight. Though Kovalev won a majority of the rounds, he does not look like the same fighter that he was in February in the rematch against Eleider Alvarez where Kovalev looked nearly unbeatable inside the division.
  • Ilunga Makabu defeated Aleksei Papin by majority decision (114-114, 115-113, 115-113) to retain the WBC Silver cruiserweight title (Fightful had Makabu winning 116-111): This fight was all action from the beginning. Papin, a former kickboxing champion, started off well with a series of shots that briefly stunned Makabu in round three, but Makabu responded with a couple of uppercuts. Papin struggled to maintain his stamina for very long, but he did kept throwing punches and was taking a lot of punishment and stayed vertical. The seventh round was the best on the entire main card with both boxers having several hard exchanges of power punches with neither man going down. Makabu hurt Papin late in the 11th round and finally scored a knockdown in the 12th round to secure the win. The 114-114 score was actually read as 113-113 by the Russian ring announcer, who said the correct score in Russian but said 113-113 in English by mistake. The scores were far closer than what the fight indicated, but regardless, Makabu is now arguably the best contender at cruiserweight and should get a world title shot in 2020 and should be considered a potential top five cruiserweight in the world with the departures of Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev to the heavyweight division.
  • Evgeny Romanov defeated Dario German Balmaceda by TKO, round 1, 2:33: Not much to say here except Romanov easily beat Balmaceda thanks to two knockdowns in the first round, resulting in the stoppage. This was a complete mismatch, even on paper. Romanov’s an unbeaten heavyweight prospect while Balmaceda came into the fight with a 19-17-2 record and has fought all the way down at super middleweight. No one learned anything from watching this fight but this was Romanov’s third fight in the past six months so at least he is keeping busy.

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