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Kovalev’s trainer McGirt: Sergey WILL win and it won’t be hard

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Dan Ambrose: Trainer James ‘Buddy’ McGirt says Saul Canelo Alvarez and his team made a mistake in choosing to fight Sergey Kovalev for his WBO light heavyweight title rather than one of the other champions at 175. Three division world champion Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is hunting for his fourth division world championship, and he picked Kovalev instead of one of the other 3 champions in the division.  McGirt thinks Canelo should have picked someone else.

Canelo says he selected the 36-year-old Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) because he views him as the best fighter in the weight class, but a lot of boxing fans feel that he cherry-picked the Russian fighter because he’s getting old and has lost several high profile bouts in recent years.  Kovalev doesn’t mind too much that Canelo chose him to fight, because he’s getting a career high payday to fight him.

Kovalev getting a HUGE payday for Canelo fight

The payday is coming at the tail-end of Kovalev’s career just when he needs the money before retirement. Although Kovalev maintains that he has two more years before he retires, it’s possible that he change his mind and leave a lot sooner if things suddenly tank for him.

Canelo and Kovalev will be fighting next month LIVE on DAZN on November 2 in the main event at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada.

McGirt: Canelo picked the wrong guy in selecting Kovalev

“I’m excited about the fight. I think they [Team Alvarez] picked the wrong veteran to mess with when they picked Sergey. I think they should have found somebody else, and the world will see on November 2 that Sergey Kovalev is the real deal,” said Kovalev’s trainer McGirt.

If Kovalev can fight the way he did in his match against Eleider Alvarez, Canelo is going to be in for a long night. We just don’t know what version of Kovalev will be showing up for this fight. Will it be the Kovalev that schooled Alvarez for 12 rounds last February or will be the one that struggled to defeat Anthony Yarde? It’s good to know that Kovalev is still capable of bringing his game back to his old form when he’s dialed in for a fight, because he’ll be hard for Canelo to beat.

Kovalev estimates he has 2 more years left in career

“I think I can fight two more years, because right now I have a great team, and a great coaches like Buddy McGirt,” said Kovalev. “I’m very motivated to get a victory over Canelo, because after this victory, more opportunities will be in front of me.”

Kovalev has the power, and the boxing skills to stick around into his 40s, but he likely won’t continue for long if he loses his title. What Kovalev has going for him is even he gets beat by Canelo, he’ll be able to quickly win back the title. Win or lose, Canelo doesn’t intend on sticking around the light heavyweight division. This is a one and done fight for Canelo. This is all about Canelo’s legacy, and a fight that will hopefully make history.

McGirt: Kovalev WILL win and it won’t be that hard

“The camp is great because everybody gets along, and everybody trusts everybody, and we have a relaxed mood, and we know what we have to do,” said trainer McGirt in discussing how training camp is going with Kovalev. “The statement should be, ‘when we win,’ because I believe in my heart that Sergey is going to win it, and it’s not going to be as hard as most people think.

“It’s not about myself. And it’s not about me right now. It’s about Sergey making history. And it’s not about me, it’s about Sergey. You know it’s funny. Sometimes when we’re in the gym, Sergey comes to me with ideas. You know what I mean, and they make sense. Like he said earlier, he got away with what he did in the amateurs,” said McGirt.

Kovalev has the reflexes and the crafty fighting style that can Canelo more than he can handle in this fight, but it’s going to require discipline to win. If Kovalev lets Canelo get inside on him the way Andre Ward did repeatedly, he’ll lose to him. Canelo is a better inside fighter than Ward, and is capable of knocking Kovalev. He’s not going to maul Kovalev, and hit him low like Ward did. Canelo will use his superb inside game to take Kovalev out with a body shot or even a shot to the head.

An easy win for Kovalev over Canelo would send major shockwaves through the boxing world, because so few people believe Sergey has a chance of winning. The fans are judging Kovalev by what happened in his fights with Ward, Anthony Yarde and Eleider Alvarez.

McGirt is bringing back Kovalev’s form from amateur days

“He showed me a video of him as an amateur, and I said, ‘what happened to this guy?’ He goes, ‘When I started knocking people out, I got away from it.’ And I go, ‘we gotta get back to it.’ But he goes, ‘But I’m the Krusher.’ ‘Now you’re going to be the smart Krusher,'” said McGirt in recalling a conversation he had with Kovalev recently.

“People underestimate his boxing IQ, because he’s always been knocking everybody out, but he’s smarter than what people give him credit for. Definitely,” if he feels something, he’ll let me know when we get to the gym. And when I feel something, I’ll let him know. So we’re on the same page at all times,” said McGirt.

Kovalev was an amazing amateur back when he was in Russia. It doesn’t matter that he never won an Olympic gold medal, because he still had the skills and the power to excel in the professional ranks. Unlike a lot of the top amateurs that never make it big in the pro ranks due to a lack of power, Kovalev had the needed elements to his game for him to make big money as a professional.


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