The battle for light heavyweight supremacy in boxing is still on delay. Currently, there are three light heavyweight champions in boxing: Bernard Hopkins (IBF), Adonis Stevenson (WBC), and Sergey Kovalev (WBO). Stevenson’s first bout of 2014 has already been made (against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24), and today it was reported that Kovalev’s first bout of this year has also been made.
According to Bad Left Hook, Kovalev will box Cedric Agnew in a battle of unbeatens for Kovalev’s title. The bout will take place on March 29 in Atlantic City and will be televised on HBO.
Kovalev is 23-0-1 as a pro and on a seven-bout win streak. Kovalev’s draw came in August 2011 against Grover Young, but it was a technical decision draw when the bout had to be stopped halfway through the second round of a scheduled eight due to an accidental foul that caused Young to be unable to continue. In that situation, the bout went to the scorecards despite only going two rounds.
The bout against Young was one of only five bouts in Kovalev’s 24-bout career that has not ended in a knockout victory of some kind for Kovalev.
Agnew is 26-0 as a pro, but is still relatively new to 12-round bouts. The bout with Kovalev will only be Agnew’s fourth bout scheduled for 12 rounds to go along with one other bout Agnew participated in that was scheduled for ten rounds. Agnew has fought in one bout scheduled for eight rounds and the other 21 bouts Agnew has been in were scheduled for six rounds or less.
This may be the next title bout for Kovalev, but his manager, Egis Klimas, doesn’t seem to be too thrilled about it:
“As for the opponent, I confess that we didn’t have much of a choice. His selection was necessary to coordinate with HBO and of course with the WBO. So Cedric Agnew became the best option – he is young, promising and has a good record. These days it is not easy to pick opponents for Kovalev, so it was significant that Agnew accepted the challenge and agreed to fight.”
It’s going to be hard for Kovalev to get marquee bouts going forward. The world of pro boxing being what it is, a unified title in any weight class isn’t the highest priority to promoters. What is a high priority to boxing promoters is keeping their boxers protected against lower-level opponents or flat out avoiding tougher competition and/or bigger names due to the risk of their boxers losing. This is a very ironic point of view to take considering there is a risk of losing any time any fighter enters competition in any combat sport.
The boxing world and its fans are hoping that a Kovalev/Stevenson bout can be made in 2014 to begin the process of unifying the light heavyweight title. Of course, if a Kovalev/Stevenson bout can’t be made this year, a bout against Hopkins is still a real option for either man.
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