P4P countdown: No 8: Sergey Kovalev
Luke G. Williams
Over the course of this week, Boxing Monthly online is counting down our latest pound for pound top ten, based on the votes of a panel comprising ten of our writers. Today we reveal the man who came eighth...
Name: Sergey Kovalev
BM online P4P ranking: 8th (up 2 places on last June)
Fight record: 31-2-1 (27 KOs)
Report card: Kovalev's reputation has suffered in the wake of his pair of fights with the now retired Andre Ward. Although many believe that Kovalev should have got the nod in the first fight and that referee Tony Weeks handled the conclusion to the rematch poorly, the way in which Kovalev seemed to mentally disintegrate in the second bout has raised many questions about the Russian. A routine two-round victory against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November told us little about Kovalev that we do not already know.
Prospects for 2018: Even with Ward retired, light heavy is a hot division right now. Bouts against any of the boxers ranked by BM from no. 2 to no. 8 at 175lbs (Adonis Stevenson, Badou Jack, Sullivan Barrera, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez and Oleksandr Gvozdyk) would be intriguing for varying reasons. Unfortunately the Krusher's next opponent - Igor Mikhalkin - is not in the same class as any of the above.
Total points from BM P4P ranking panel: 23 - Six of our panel rated Kovalev in their top tens - an improvement on last June - enabling him to rise two places in our latest chart, although this result is less impressive when you consider the fact that four of our previous top ten have lost since last June, while one has retired. Kovalev arguably needs a signature win against someone of the calibre of Stevenson, Jack or Barrera to properly re-establish his P4P credentials.
NB: Voting panel for the BM online P4P rankings were: Mark Butcher, Luke Byron, Luke G. Williams, Andrew Harrison, Paul Zanon, James Oddy, Chris Williamson, Callum Rudge, Michael Montero and Shaun Brown.
Each panellist ranked their top ten in order, with the boxer placed first receiving ten points, second nine points, third eight points and so on. Boxers were then ranked by the overall number of points accrued.