By Bryan Mazique / Credit:  Photo by John Locher, AP –

WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KO) continues to crush opponents.

On Saturday night, Kovalev defended his titles by way of a third-round TKO win over an overmatched Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4). There was little resistance offered up by Mohammedi in this one.

He couldn’t match Kovalev’s speed, technical acumen and certainly not the Russian’s power. With every power punch the champion landed, it was clear he was just too strong for Mohammedi.

The challenger’s only defense seemed to be his awkwardness, but Kovalev wouldn’t allow that to keep him from the finish for long. He dropped Mohammedi for the first time in the second round with this right hand, per HBO Boxing.

Watch: Kovalev sends Mohammedi down to the canvas in the second round.

Mohammedi would get to his feet, but he made the decision reluctantly. He spent the remainder of the round grabbing, holding and attempting to wrestle Kovalev down in an effort to survive the frame. He accomplished his short-term goal, but it was clear he wouldn’t be around for long.

In the third round, Kovalev put him away with this right-left combination. The tail end of the one-two might have broken a bone in Mohammedi’s face.

Watch: @KrusherKovalev ends Mohammedi’s night in the third round.

Referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the bout as Mohammedi made more effort to address his injured cheek bone than he did to beat the count.

When the fight was over, speculation about Kovalev’s next opponent began.

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Jean Pascal won a controversial decision over Yunieski Gonzalez in the undercard, and that win put him in line for another shot at Kovalev. The Russian already scored an eighth-round TKO win over Pascal in March.

The fight was an entertaining one, so there could be a small market for the rematch. On a larger scale, a fight with WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson or countrymen Artur Beterbiev would be most appealing. Making either fight will be problematic because Al Haymon promotes both fighters, and there’s a storied history of issues with HBO and Showtime fighters facing off against each other.

More realistic opponents for Kovalev would be middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin or super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward.

Golovkin would have to come up at least eight pounds for a superbout with Kovalev. Ward would be a more feasible opponent as the two men could meet somewhere between 168 and 175 pounds. HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Kovalev who he would like to face next with specific references to Golovkin and Ward, but Kovalev kept it general, per HBO Boxing.

“I’m ready for everyone.” – @KrusherKovalev on his future opponents.

Many in the boxing community such as Bleacher Report’s Kevin McRae and Bad Left Hook’s Scott Christ were intrigued by the possibility of a Ward vs. Kovalev scrap.

I’d be super fascinated by a Ward-Kovalev matchup. Think that’s a great one on paper.

@scottchristBLH Agree. I am very curious to see how Andre could handle or take away Kovalev’s power.

There’s no doubt that bout could be an entertaining one. Kovalev’s power is unlike anything Ward has ever faced. With Ward moving up, it would be interesting to see how he handles the additional weight and bigger punch.

As of now, we don’t have any official word on that bout. We’ll just have to appreciate Kovalev’s latest destructive exhibition.

thumbs_72615kovalev001   thumbs_72615kovalev002  thumbs_72615kovalev003

By Miguel Maravilla at ringside –
Photos: David Spagnolo / Main Events – John Locher, AP

Unbeaten WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) destroyed IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas. 150:1 favorite Kovalev dropped Mohammedi with a series of right hands in round two and finished him with right/left combination in round three. Time was 2:38.

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev – Mohammedi Presser
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Credit:  Photos by David Spagnolo/Main Events –

The final press conference was held Thursday for the HBO-televised clash between WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) and mandatory challenger Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature will include a ten-round light heavyweight match-up between Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) and Yuniesky Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs).

Sergey Kovalev: “Thank you to WBO. This was my first belt and mean a lot to me. Thank you for this ring. Thank you for everybody that came here today. Thank you Kathy Duva my promoter, Egis Klimas my manager and Nadjib Mohammedi. I want to show this Saturday who I am. I would like to still be champion as long time as possible. I did not get all my goals in my career yet. My amateur career I didn’t give me a lot of opportunities. I was hurt in amateur career and I had to try not to closed doors. Some of my dreams in the boxing and my goals not finished. For my dreams, my goals this Saturday is the next step in my career…I cannot say who is the best. I try to be better with every day, fight and build my career as I would like.”

Nadjib Mohammedi: “I am very excited and happy. Thank you Sergey Kovalev, Main Events and HBO. I have hard work in my training camp for this fight. I am very happy. I promise Saturday a good fight. I am ready. Thank you very much.”

Kathy Duva/CEO of Main Events: “There has been a lot of discussion lately about where the best fighters fight. The place that has developed every major fighter in the last 30 years is HBO and that is why Sergey Kovalev is an HBO Fighter. This event is going to be promoted with a group of great promoters. Krusher Promotions, Sergey’s promotional company, will be our new partner going forward. Our sponsor is Myagkov Vodka. It is so nice to be back here at Mandalay Bay. We have had a long relationship with Mandalay Bay going back to Fernando Vargas. It is in my view my favorite place in Las Vegas to come. It is associated with the great people at MGM International and my good friend Richard Sturm.”

“Our first time in Nevada was in 1981 when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns. This is my first time working with the current commission here in Nevada. We are forging a good relationship with them. I want to thank Cisco Aguilar and Bob Bennett.”

“The first time Sergey Kovalev fought in Las Vegas it was on an undercard. Those fighters work just as hard as everyone else. We have a great undercard for this Saturday’s event and it is always fun to watch the undercard fighters because you never know if one of them could be the next Sergey Kovalev. The opening bout on HBO World Championship Boxing telecast will feature Jean Pascal, the former light heavyweight champion of the world, against the undefeated Cuban Yuniesky Gonzalez. Pascal is truly a warrior in the best sense of the word. His promoter is InterBox and he also has his own promotional company, Jean Pascal Promotions.”

“We got to know Nadjib Mohammedi a year ago when he fought Anatoliy Dudchenko on one of our shows. He came in as the under dog and came away as the mandatory challenger. I thank God every day for the day I met Egis Klimas and he brought me Sergey Kovalev. He has a great team around him. Sergey Kovalev’s trainer is a former world champion. I have known John David Jackson for a long time and he is one of the best trainers in the world. Bernard Hopkins said to me that Sergey is getting better with every fight. He is powerfully fast and shockingly dominating. He is the kind of guy that people want to see. Hopkins warned Sergey not to get complacent. I think a mark of a great fighter is no matter what you do you are never satisfied and that is the best way to describe Sergey.”

Bob Bennett – Nevada Athletic Commission: “On behalf of the Nevada Athletic Commission, we are pleased and privileged to bring you this fight. We would like to thank Main Events, HBO, Richard Sturm and Mandalay Bay and last, but not least, we really want to thank the fighters because without them none of us would be here.”

Paco Valcarcel – WBO President: “Sergey Kovalev was a sensation. Sergey, we have something for you. He is a great human being. He is a great fighter, outstanding. You going to have a lot of excitement in this fight. We have a real diamond ring for him. This is something we give to our champions.”

Egis Klimas – Sergey Kovalev’s Manager: “Good afternoon. First I want to thank Don Turner who gave me my first steps in boxing. He is the man who introduced me to this sport. He noticed Sergey and told me I had to sign him. Coming back to Vegas brings back a lot of good memories because this is where Sergey won his first belt. He won the NABA Light Heavyweight Title. We were celebrating here and he grabbed his belt, put a shirt over it and brought it downstairs. He said he wanted to give it to me. He gave it to me and said it was our title together. I still have it at my house, he never took it back. I want to thank HBO and Nadjib Mohammedi for taking this fight, Mandalay Bay and media for coming for this good event. We are looking for one of the best fights in the light heavyweight division. When Sergey came to United States in 2009 the light heavyweight division was dead and nobody was talking about it. I strongly believe the division is burning today and that is because of Sergey. There is not a match in this division that happens without mentioning his name.”

John David Jackson – Sergey Kovalev’s Trainer: “I am not going to talk too much. I am going to let Sergey do the talking in the ring Saturday night. But I was a WBO champion during my career and where is my ring, Paco? (laughing)”

“I think Sergey Kovalev is in the top five fighters pound-for-pound and he can become #1.”

Vince Caruso: “Nadjib Mohammedi, a lot of people didn’t know who we were not too long ago. After Saturday he will be known everywhere. I can make two guarantees: He will weigh 175 pounds tomorrow on the scale and he will have the best game plan possible. That is because of Abel Sanchez, who I believe he is the best trainer in the business. When Nadjib’s trainer couldn’t make it into the country back in November, I had the chance to call Abel to step in. It is like putting sugar in the Duncan Hines…Nadjib Mohammedi is Saturday’s challenger but he will be Sunday’s champion.”

Jon Ali – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Co-Manager: “I am glad to be here with my brother, Nadjib Mohammedi. I am very proud of him. Back in France he came a long way to get here. Saturday night will change his life forever.”

Abel Sanchez – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Trainer: “Nadjib earned this right by moving up the ladder to become the #1 contender. I believe we are fighting the best light heavyweight in the world. We know we are fighting a very tough guy. I hope everyone enjoys the fight.”

Jean Pascal: “Hi everybody. There is no place like home. I have been fighting at home my whole career. I am glad to be in Vegas, it is my first time fighting here. Every fighter on my level wants to fight at least one time in Vegas. This is my chance to make a statement on Saturday night. I know am still among the best in the world and best in my division. I know Yuniesky Gonzalez is hungry and he wants to make a statement. I want to give you guys a great show on Saturday night.”

“My philosophy is the best must fight the best. I believe I am still among the best in the world. I am the best light heavyweight in the world but I had a bad night on March 14.”

Yuniesky Gonzalez: “Good afternoon. Thank you to Jean Pascal team, HBO and Joe DiGuardia and Kathy Duva of Main Events for this opportunity. Gracias. We are going to see high quality boxing from Yuniesky Gonzalez Saturday night.”

Pierre Duc – InterBox Promotions: “Good afternoon. InterBox has been one of the lead promoters in Canada for a long time but this is our first time in Vegas, so this is a great thrill for us. Thank you to HBO, Kathy Duva and Main Events for having us here. Following Jean Pascal’s fight with Sergey Kovalev one of Pascal’s requests was to step back into the ring as soon as possible. We are so happy to make this happen for him. You are going to see a very exciting fight on HBO. Jean Pascal is a former light heavyweight champion. Kathy Duva described him as a warrior. This is going to be a long and very difficult fight for both fighters.”

Marc Ramsay – Jean Pascal’s Trainer: “Thank you for being with us today. After the fight with Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal requested a fight right away on HBO with the best opponent available. With the style of both fighters we are going to have a great fight. We had a great training camp and it should be a great fight Saturday night.”

Joe DiGuardia – Star Boxing, Gonzalez’s Promoter: “Thank you. It is great to be back here at Mandalay Bay where I have also had some great fights and my best success stories. I want to thank Kathy Duva and Main Events from having us, Peter Nelson and HBO for giving this opportunity to Yuniesky Gonzalez. Jean Pascal is a great champion. Sergey Kovalev is one of the greatest of our time. Yuniesky Gonzalez is pleased to have this opportunity. Yuniesky Gonzalez is an exciting fighter. I guarantee you will see an exciting fight with Yuniesky Gonzalez and Jean Pascal. Yuniesky Gonzalez has been clawing his way to get this opportunity and he will take advantage of it.”

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas


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’s No. 7 pound-for-pound fighter.

  (3:06 PM)

Sergey is here!

Mr PPV (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Who is the hardest puncher you have ever faced?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:07 PM)

I don’t remember because I didn’t get too many hard punches from my opponents. My hardest punch is definitely my right hand.

Dil (Uk)

Sergey, where do you see yourself in the P4P rankings?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:08 PM)

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.

rocky (Beardsville)

Why did you move your training camp to California?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:08 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:09 PM)

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 ???

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:09 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:11 PM)

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.

Dil (Uk)

Sergey you are a very popular fighter in the UK, do you wish to fight there again in the future?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:11 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:13 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:13 PM)

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.

Steven (Charlotte)

It’s so much fun watching you fight. How often do you get recognized where you live by boxing fans?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:15 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:16 PM)

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.

Dil (Uk)

Who is the toughest opponent you have faced, amateur or professional?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:17 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:17 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:18 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:19 PM)

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?

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:19 PM)

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.

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:20 PM)

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.

Sergey Kovalev
  (3:21 PM)

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.