Sergey Kovalev & Dmitry Bivol double-header targeted for Aug.4
By Trevor McIntyre: WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev and WBA World 175lb. champion Dmitry Bivol will reportedly be fighting on the same card in separate fights on August 4 on HBO at a still to be determined location.
Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) is expected to make another voluntary defense of his WBO belt against unbeaten #4 WBO Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs). Kovalev’s team chose not to have him defend against #1 WBO contender Marcus Browne. That would have been the far more dangerous fight for Kovalev, as Browne is young, fast and he can punch.
Boxing fans wanted to see Kovalev take on Browne, but unfortunately that fights not going to happen yet. With Browne’s number 1 ranking, he’s going to get a shot at Kovalev sooner or later. Kovalev’s fight with Eleider Alvarez is his second consecutive voluntary defense of his World Boxing Organization title. The WBO will need to order Kovalev to fight his mandatory sooner or later unless they’re okay with him making voluntary defenses.
Bivol’s opponent is still unknown currently. Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) looked sensational last March in stopping Sullivan Barrera in the 12th round of a one-sided fight. It was a methodical beat down by the 27-year-old Bivol in beating a very good contender in Barrera. It wasn’t as good of a boxing master-class against Barrera compared to how Andre ‘SOG’ Ward beat the Cuban fighter in March 2016, but it was more of a punishing fight. Bivol landed a lot of heavy shots on Barrera in that fight. Ward mostly boxed Barrera for 12 rounds.
As far as possible opponents for Bivol, it’s going to be someone outside of the top two contenders. Bivol could wind up facing the likes of Karo Murat, Joe Smith Jr., Isaac Chilemba, Juergen Braehmer, Shefat Isufi, Joe Fournier, Mike Lee, Jake Ball or Charles Foster. Those are all top 15 contenders in the World Boxing Association’s rankings. Smith Jr. would be a great option for Bivol, as would Braehmer, but it’s hard to imagine either of those fighters agreeing to face him with how good he’s been looking lately.
The two heavyweight champions Kovalev and Bivol were teamed up on the same card on March 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Kovalev, 35, made his first defense of his WBO title last March in stopping Igor Mikhalkin in the 7th round on HBO World Championship Boxing. It was a voluntary defense for Kovalev, who didn’t take any risks in choosing the 32-year-old Mikhalkin rather than one of his more dangerous contenders like Marcus Browne. Kovalev has won his last two fights against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Mikhalkin. Before that, Kovalev had lost twice in a row to Andre Ward in controversial fights.
At some point, Kovalev and Bivol will end up fighting each other. It would be in Kovalev’s best interest to try and get that fight out of the way soon before he gets much older. Right now, Bivol would likely be a close favorite to beat Kovalev. If the fight gets pushed into the future 1 or 2 years, then it could be a real one-sided affair with Bivol destroying Kovalev. Bivol might already be the best fighter in the 175 lb. weight class, although he’ll never get a chance to prove it.