Sergey Kovalev ‘Krusher’ (31 (27 KO’s)-2-1) takes on Igor Mikhalkin (21 (9 KO’s)-1-0) in the first defense of the title he won back after beating Vyacheslav Shabranskyy convincingly in Madison Square garden back in November 2017.
Kovelev is a bit of a damaged fighter after the two losses against Andre Ward and the manner in which he lost the second fight especially. It feels like he has a lot of redeeming to do and no matter whoever he fights in the future those two losses will always be hanging over his head and I am not sure if he will ever shake them.
It feels like the WBO handed Kovelev the vacant title back after they made him fight someone who is just about ranked in the WBC rankings and not even ranked in the WBO now and this fight has all the hallmarks off another confidence boosting fight for Kovelev against a good but not great fighter, with Mikhalkin ranked number five with the WBO and not ranked with any off the other three major governing bodies, there is a lot of unknown about the fighter who fights out of Hamburg.
I am sure Mikhalkin is aware he has been given a great opportunity here and that this is probably the best time to face Kovalev as I am sure he isn’t the same fighter after he was shown up by Ward.
The hardest fight for Mikhalkin to date was against Thomas Oosthuizen and like the majority of his fights it went the distance and he won with an unanimous points decision which suggests he might lack the punching power to stop most fighters within the division.
If Mikhalkin is to outbox and win this fight he will need Kovalev to have a really bad day and not perform like I know and everyone knows he can. The other question he will have to answer is can he handle the power coming back to him as I am not sure he has faced anyone who possesses the same power as Kovalev has to offer.