Sergey Kovalev Dominates Cruiserweight Debut Against Tervel Pulev
Two-time light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (35-4-1, 29KOs) took away the undefeated record of Tervel Pulev (16-1, 13KOs). His game plan saw superb use of the jab.
His previous fight took place in November 2019, when he was stopped by Canelo Alvarez, losing the WBO 175 light heavyweight title. Since that defeat, Kovalev has dealt with his fair share of personal issues out of the ring since. Now at the advanced age of 39, he’s decided to carry on at a higher weight. More than a few wondered how much the “Krusher” has left in the tank.
He took on a Pulev, the younger brother of multiple-time world title challenger Kubrat Pulev. While the younger brother is not nearly as well known as his sibling, he is someone of real quality. A former 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist, the 39-year-old has solid boxing skills. But more than anything, he has the reputation of being one the hardest punchers in the division. His vision was not just to beat Kovalev but to knock him out.
THE JAB WAS THE KEY EARLY
Kovalev right away started to use the jab against an over-aggressive Pulev. He was able to keep his opponent at bay while punctuating every exchange with it.
The younger Pulev landed a good right hand and a left hook to the body of the Krusher. However, Kovalev returned fire with body shots of his own and continued to use the jab to keep the fight under control. Kovalev continued to touch-up Pulev with that jab and shot the straight right hand to the body. Occasionally he would jump in and land the right hand before going back to the jab that was the money punch.
Pulev made the adjustment by landing a decent left hook and overhand right. Yet Kovalev’s jabs were like Skittles and Pulev was tasting the rainbow.
The former light heavyweight champion’s jab made this an easy fight for him as he continued to pepper the face of Pulev with it. Going into the closing rounds, it was all Krusher landing the jab and straight right hand to the body.
Going to the judges’ scorecards, two judges had it 98-92, and one judge saw it 97-93 as Kovalev was successful in his debut fight at cruiserweight.
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By: Garrisson Bland