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Kovalev vs. Chilemba = Another mismatch for Sergey

Sergey Kovalev

By Allan Fox: Main Events needs to start finding some opposition for their fighter IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs), who will be fighting this Monday on July 11 against Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) at the DIVS in Ekaterinburg, Russia. It’s hard to see this fight as anything other than a mismatch for Kovalev.

This is Kovalev’s last fight before he defends his titles against former 168lb champion Andre Ward on November 19. That match will at least give Kovalev a good opponent for a change, but we’re still only talking about one fight. It’s not as if Kovalev will go from fighting Ward to facing Artur Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez, Adonis Stevenson, Juergen Braehmer, Joseph Smith Jr., Oleksandr Gvozyk and Vyachaslav Shabranskyy.

That would be great for the sport if Kovalev could start fighting better opposition with each fight, but that’s not likely to happen. The different promoters don’t want to sacrifice their top fighters by having them fight someone that they have such a small chance of beating like Kovalev.

Chilemba, 29, is a little younger than the 33-year-old Kovalev. However, Chilemba’s youth advantage isn’t enough for him to gain any real advantage in this fight because he likely won’t be around by the later rounds anyway due to the shots he’s going to be getting hit with by Kovalev. Chilemba likes to fight in a defensive posture for much of his fights.

It generally works to his benefit because he can keep from getting hit enough to make it close against the better opponents. But this emphasis on defense at the expense of offense results in Chilemba not doing enough to get the nod from the judges when he fights better fighters. Chilemba can beat the weaker opponents without problems. but he doesn’t have enough offensive skills to beat the top echelon opposition.

Kovalev will have a big advantage in the punching power department on Monday night. Chilemba has decent power, but he’s not anywhere close to that of Kovalev when it comes to his incredible power in each hand. That’s the whole problem. Chilemba will need better power to keep Kovalev off of him, because the Russian fighter will take whatever Chilemba can dish out in order to get close enough to and his big power shots.

Kovalev isn’t one of those fighters that only have punching power in one hand. His left hand is just as powerful as hi right, and Chilemba will need to look out for both hands if he’s to survive for long in this fight.

Chilemba has good technical skills. He likes to counter punch frequently. However, he’s hittable when his opponents get on the inside against him, because he doesn’t have an inside game to speak of. Chilemba also doesn’t have a great jab, and he can be beaten by guys that stand on the outside and jab him all night. If Kovalev wants, he can focus on jabbing Chilemba for 12 rounds and make his job easier. However, that’s not the way Kovalev fights. He wants to entertain his fans, and he’s not going to be contest with just standing at a safe distance jabbing Chilemba’s head off all night.

Chilemba’s best chance of winning this fight is to take advantage of Kovalev’s aggressiveness byt loading up with something bit to try and catch him coming in. Jean Pascal was able to nail Kovalev with big shots in both of their fight. Kovalev forgot about his defense when he was on the attack, and this enabled Pascal to land some really hard shots. Kovalev’s good chin saved him in both cases. Sooner or later though, Kovalev’s chin isn’t going to be able to protect him from harm. I don’t think his chin is going to betray him against a light hitter like Chilemba, but you never know. It’s very possible.

Chilemba lost his last fight against the hard hitting Eleider Alvarez. Chilemba took Alvare’s best shots without getting hurt. The fight was very close in the end. The main difference is Alvarez’s superior power that impressed the judges. I suspect that Chilemba can’t hope to beat Kovalev by a decision because the judges will be looking to score rounds to the fighter that lands the harder and cleaner shots. That’s always going to be Kovalev because he hits so hard. hat’s why Chilemba is going to need to load up with everything he’s got to try and get a knockout.

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