Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we’re going inside the boxing ring when Sergey Kovalev stops by to chat about his light heavyweight title fight this weekend.
Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KO) takes on Nadjib Mohammedi (37-2, 23 KO) and puts up his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight belts. The fight will be live from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Kovalev has won 11 straight fights since recording a draw against Grover Young in 2011. Only one of the 11 wins has come via decision, the other 10 have been by knockout. Kovalev is ESPN.com’s No. 7 pound-for-pound fighter.
Sergey is here!
Mr PPV (Manhattan Beach, CA)
Who is the hardest puncher you have ever faced?
I don’t remember because I didn’t get too many hard punches from my opponents. My hardest punch is definitely my right hand.
Sergey, where do you see yourself in the P4P rankings?
I don’t think about it because I can only think about myself. I think this opinion should be made from the side and from people and boxing fans.
Why did you move your training camp to California?
For this fight, I moved to California because my fight is in Las Vegas and is at a different time of day.
Is there any chance you would fight Pascal again?
You would have to talk to my promoter. If my promoter says Pascal is ready to fight again, I’m ready to also.
Daniel Moreno Waco Texas [via mobile]
who’s your favorite fighter of all time ???
When I was a child, I watched Roy Jones and Oscar De La Hoya. These were the boxers I watched a lot of times. But right now, I like to watch Gennady Golovkin. I also like to watch all of the fights of my friends.
Juan houston, tx. [via mobile]
How do you usually celebrate a win?
Usually, I have my phone and I put it to my ear with the gloves on and speak to it to get congrats for my last fight with my family and friends. After this, we spend time with my family. This time we are going to be in my home with all of my friends. Then I will be leaving for Russia for a long time.
Sergey you are a very popular fighter in the UK, do you wish to fight there again in the future?
No problem. If the fight is a good reason to make England, it should be in England.
R Truth (What’s up?)
Which of your fights was your best performance so far and why?
I think that my best fight was … I don’t know? I like my strategy and my work against Bernard Hopkins. We fought all 12 rounds and it was very interesting to box the whole fight and to go to a decision. It was very interesting for me.
River Boy (Cleveland)
What happened between you and former trainer Abel Sanchez that led to your falling out?
I already talked an answer to this question. I don’t care if Abel is the coach of Mohammedi. I don’t think about it at all.
It’s so much fun watching you fight. How often do you get recognized where you live by boxing fans?
Right now it’s more often than last year. Much more often outside and at the boxing shows. Definitely in my country, too.
Mr PPV (Manhattan Beach, CA)
Hypothetical question here, do you think you could’ve knocked out Ivan Drago?
No, I am not an actor right now. I am a boxer. Movie is just a fiction. Of course I saw “Rocky IV,” but I’m not trying to be Rocky IV. I’m Sergey Kovalev.
Who is the toughest opponent you have faced, amateur or professional?
That would be Bernard Hopkins and I’m talking to him right now. Right now. He is in front of me.
Dom (Rhode island) [via mobile]
Are you going to move up to heavyweight after you unify the titles and finally knock out Adonis?
No, right now I’m concentrating on the light heavyweight division and that’s where I am going to stay. I see no reason leaving my weight division.
Sith (Huntington Beach, CA) [via mobile]
Thank you Sergey for your time!! A lot of top guys from The East (GGG, Ruslan, Beterbiev, you) have similar traits in that you punch incredibly hard and have iron chins. Is this a new style of training happening over there? Or is there some other reason for the similarities?
Right now we have a lot of fighters from Eastern European countries like Gennady Golovkin, Provodnikov and myself. Yes, we are trying to come in and make an Eastern European boxing era. Yes, we are coming in.
Gary Shaw [via mobile]
You are now father. Has that changed any aspects of how you prepare for fights and interact with the media?
Doesn’t change my preparation, but of course it has changed my life. It means everything to me and has changed me. But not my preparation.
Laser (Long Island) [via mobile]
Now that you are a big star do you feel more pressure to continue to dominate?
I never come into the ring to knock people out. I just come into the ring to box and knockouts will come if they come. I never come for the knockout.
Bill M (Fairfax, VA)
Do you think Mohammedi deserves to be a mandatory contender? I’m not sure what he has done to deserve that distinction.
He made it to this point. It’s not my thing to say he deserves what. Sanction bodies assign him. I can tell that after the fight.
Thank you everybody. Thank you very much for watching me. Thank you for following me. Stay tuned for July 25 and we are going to put on a great show.