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Sergey Kovalev battles Bektemir Melikuziev on Jan.30th on Dazn

Image: Sergey Kovalev battles Bektemir Melikuziev on Jan.30th on Dazn

By Matt Lieberman: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) will play the role of trial horse for the outstanding bluechip super middleweight prospect Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) live on DAZN on January 30th in Luzhniki, Moscow.

Kovalev – Melikuziev will be fighting at a 178-lb catchweight. The likely reason for that is Kovalev has arguably outgrown the light heavyweight division, and it’s difficult for him to make weight.

Having the fight three pounds over the 175lb limit will make things a little easier for Kovalev, but obviously not as easy if the bout were contested at 200 lbs in the cruiserweight division.

Kovalev getting a tough test

Melikuziev fights in the 168-lb division, and he’ll need to bulk up a little to deal with the higher weight for the contest.

The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds, but it’s unlikely it’s going to last that long.

Image: Sergey Kovalev battles Bektemir Melikuziev on Jan.30th on Dazn

Kovalev will be getting $2.5 million for this fight as part of his agreement for his last fight against Canelo Alvarez, said Mike Coppinger. DAZN obviously wants value for their money, and they’re getting it with Kovalev taking on the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Melikuziev.

Kovalev is going to be in tough against Melikuziev, and he’ll definitely be earning his money.

If Kovalev through Canelo hit hard, just wait until he feels the punches from Melikuziev. This guy has textbook one-punch power, but what we don’t know is how well Melikuziev can take a shot from a powerful light heavyweight like Kovalev.

‘Bully’ Bektemir Melikuziev is willing to fight anyone from 160 to 175, which makes it easier for his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions to set-up fights for him. It’s scary to imagine seeing Melikuziev fighting the top 160-pounders and 168-pounders. He might find tit difficult to get opponents to face him if he keeps knocking everyone out.

The Uzbekistan fighter Melikuziev anyone remotely as talented as Kovalev, and it doesn’t matter that the “Krusher” isn’t the same fighter he was eight years ago. Kovalev still has boxing skills and power that Melikuziev hasn’t dealt with in the pro game with his six fights.

Kovalev is going to need a good set of whiskers for him to make it the full 12 round distance against the powerful southpaw Melikuziev, who is a devastating puncher with either hand. You can argue that Melikuziev hits harder than anyone at 168, including Edgar Berlanga

Sergey has lost 2 out of his last 4 fights

The 37-year-old former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev is a perfect example of how quickly fighters can go from being on the top to being viewed as over-the-hill by boxing fans, Callum Smith and David Benavidez.

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In Kovalev’s case, he’s been on the slide since 2016, but he’s been able to stay up among the top fighters at 175 due to the division being weak, and a tiny handful of quality guys like Artur Beterbiev and Dimitry Bivol.

Kovalev was knocked out by Canelo last year in November and by Eleider Alvarez in 2018.

The 24-year-old Bektemir ‘Bully’ Melikuziev turned pro in 2019 in signing with Golden Boy Promotions, and he’s being pushed in part because of his vast amateur background in his native Uzbekistan, but also because he’s hit like a Mack truck.

With the kind of power that Melikuziev possesses, he’ll be a major player overnight if he stays at 168. At 175, it’ll be a little tougher for Melikuziev because he’d have to deal with the talented Russians Artur Beterbiev and Dimitry Bivol. Those guys can also punch hard, but they are also excellent boxers with the experience that rivals or surpasses ‘Bully’ Melikuziev.

Melikuziev looking to add Kovalev’s name to his win-column

“Sergey Kovalev is one of the biggest boxing stars of the last decade,” said Bektemir Melikuziev. “This is exactly the type of opportunity I have wanted since turning professional and I will be very well prepared for victory on January 30!”

Image: Sergey Kovalev battles Bektemir Melikuziev on Jan.30th on Dazn

If Melikuziev can score a knockout of Kovalev, he’ll be sending a message to the top fighters at 175 and 168 that he’s coming. There are more money fights available for Melikuziev if he stays at super middleweight where he can pursue these fighters:

  • Edgar Berlanga
  • Canelo Alvarez
  • Callum Smith
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Daniel Jacobs
  • David Lemieux
  • Caleb Plant
  • David Benavidez

A knockout win for Melikuziev over Kovalev could scare away a lot of those top super middleweights, and he could have problems getting fights. What Melikuziev has working for him is his age. He’s only 24, and even if the top super middleweights want to avoid him, they can’t do it forever.


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