Often at times, one hears about a boxer saying they don't watch tape of their opponent during training camp, but it's rare to see a trainer take that same approach.
Such is the case for Buddy McGirt, the trainer for former unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Right before Kovalev challenges Eleider Alvarez for the WBO title on February 2, McGirt spoke to media about helping prepare Kovalev for the fight.
The matchup is a rematch from their August 2018 bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey that saw Kovalev get stopped by Alvarez and lose the WBO title. McGirt was not Kovalev's trainer at the time, but when asked about whether or not he watched that first fight, McGirt admitted he has not seen it. McGirt took the response one step further and said he doesn't watch tapes of opponents.
"No, I did not watch the first fight. The night that they fought I had a fight in New York. You want to hear something? Whenever I watched tapes of an opponent, as a fighter, I lost. When I watched tapes as a trainer, my fighter lost. I watched tape of Meldrick Taylor, and I lost the fight. I don’t need to watch tapes. I’m old school. I prepare for anything and everything. If you watch a tape of a guy, and you see something, then you expect it to happen and you wait all night for it, and it doesn’t," McGirt said.
So how does McGirt work with Kovalev for this upcoming rematch against Alvarez? McGirt, a former two-division world champion and eventual International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee later this year, said his past viewings of Kovalev's fights and conversations with him is enough for him to work with.
"I have watched quite a few Kovalev fights. I have seen enough of him. Things that he told me how he prepared for the fight and what happened during the fight – that was enough for me to understand what we have to do," McGirt said.
The fight will take place in Texas in the main event of an ESPN+ card promoted by Top Rank. The card will also feature two world title fights on the undercard, set to be televised on ESPN.