Sergey Kovalev

Sergey Kovalev RETURNS, but will the Krusher?

In Boxing (Sport) by Bakari SimpsonLeave a Comment

Written By Bakari Simpson: Peering in from the outside, for Sergey Kovalev a.k.a. “The Krusher” (30-2-1, 26 KO’s) the past ten months has been wildly turbulent. Perhaps, even disorienting. Most of these jarring events can be understood and sympathized with. The Krusher was crushed in every sense of the word. It seems like only a fortnight ago when Kovalev was literally one of the most feared boxers alive. His reputation was that of a dangerous, hard-hitting and surly man who spoke few words. While technically proficient, at times masterful, Sergey was in the ring to hurt. Even after a man died due to injuries suffered fighting him, Sergey relished in inflicting pain. His heavy-handed and coldhearted approach to boxing served him well. After eight years as a professional Sergey was undefeated, considered a p4p beast and had captured three-world titles. Life was splendid for the Krusher.

Enter Andre Ward

Andre Ward Sergey Kovalev

Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward engage in a heated stare-down ahead of their epic first fight.

Following their November 19, 2016 prize fight, the wheels of success came flying off the Kovalev victory train. The first time that Kovalev tasted defeat it was on the scorecards. That is when Sergey transformed from a ‘hurt machine’ into an excuse factory. For the Krusher, his loss was due to poor judging officials. Despite gassing out badly during the second half of the fight, he claimed zero responsibility. To rectify the situation Sergey vowed to score the KO in the rematch. Instead, the Krusher himself succumbed to a knockout loss. At this point, Sergey apparently came unhinged. The excuse factory evolved into a world of imagination that would impress Guillermo del Toro. Unable to handle his back-to-back losses Kovalev blamed Ward, the ref, his trainer and just about everything else…but himself. He quickly fell from the public spotlight and descended into isolation in his native Russia.

For a hot second it was unclear if Kovalev would continue with his career at all. The announcement of his Nov 25th bout with Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO’s) settled the potential retirement issue. On the heels of the fight declaration, Sergey formally parted ways with long time trainer John David Jackson. The two have been a team for 5 years.

As it is with so many long time relationship, at the end it got ugly.

Neither Kovalev nor Jackson spoke highly of the other. Jackson straight up called Sergey a cantankerous asshole with an overly inflated ego. Beyond this, John David was adamant that Kovalev was a poor student who refused to listen to instruction. This sentiment mirrors what Able Sanchez had previously said about Kovalev. Sanchez briefly trained Sergey but they could not maintain a cohesive unit. For his part, the Krusher said Jackson was a ‘nice guy’ but a poor trainer. After five years, Sergey Kovalev wants the public to believe that Jackson taught him nothing. Going a step further, Kovalev told reporters that John did not even give instruction in the corner during fights.

Honestly, that seems far-fetched and difficult to believe.

Firstly, if your trainer doesn’t teach technique, doesn’t help in the corner and doesn’t construct workout routines in camp, why keep them? Even if you gave them a shot or two, why retain them for five years? Half a decade is a long time to keep someone you are not happy with. Secondly, we’re to believe, Sergey Kovalev won three world titles, obtained pound-for-pound status, fought Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal (twice) and Andre Ward (twice) and learned nothing from John David Jackson?! Again, this notion is more than a little mind-boggling.

Let Sergey tell it, he has been teaching himself all this time anyway. The Krusher is so confident in his ability to train himself that not only does he not currently have a coach; he is in no rush to retain one.

“It’s funny but I don’t need a coach. All this time with John David Jackson, I got nothing from him. Everything, my preparation, was constructed by myself. Jackson wouldn’t help me. A coach should help you inside the ring between rounds, when you have a minute rest, to explain or help you with tactics. I know when and where to punch, since I began boxing at 11 years old. Had thoughts for a while about splitting with Jackson. I read (what Jackson said about me) but in Russian (media). Someone translated what he said to Russian. I don’t want to say any bad words. He’s a nice guy. He’s not the coach for me. He might be a good trainer and a good guy. I need a teacher who will take me to the next level.” ~ Sergey Kovalev

Overall, since his consecutive losses to Ward, Sergey Kovalev has seemingly inched further and further away from reality. These new updates only serve to reinforce this notion. Before his defeats, Kovalev was a ferocious fighter and a joy to watch in the ring. It would be fun for him to return to that crisp form. However, more and more it seems like Sergey is a mentally broken man who makes increasingly zany statements. Before the second fight, Sergey relentlessly mocked Ward for hitting like ‘a woman.’ Yet, after the fight, he talks about Ward as if his fists were the hammer of Thor.

On November, with or without a trainer, we shall all witness what form Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring in. Let’s keep those fingers crossed!

“I don’t remember anything from the middle of the second round on, I woke up from the right hand by Andre Ward in the eighth round. Don’t know what was wrong with my body during the fight.” I’m not broken mentally. I’m still strong on the inside. Everything is good.” -Sergey Kovalev

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