P4P countdown: No 3: Sergey Kovalev
Luke G. Williams
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Boxing Monthly online is counting down our latest pound for pound top ten, based on the votes of a panel comprising nine of our writers. Today we reveal the man who came third ...
Name: Sergey Kovalev
BM online P4P ranking: 3rd
Fight record: 30(26)-1-1
2016 report card: Kovalev had an active year, defeating Jean Pascal by eighth round TKO in January and Issac Chilemba by unanimous points decision in July. However the defining fight of the year for 'Krusher' was his November showdown with Andre Ward. Although Kovalev dropped a unanimous decision, 114-113 on all three scorecards, many remain convinced that the Russian did enough to edge the contest, particularly having dropped Ward in round two. Besides which, being involved in such a huge event against a man who has long ranked in the upper reaches of the world's pound for pound top ten, has enhanced Kovalev's profile and standing, even in defeat.
Prospects for 2017: Understandably enough, a rematch against Ward is the fight that Kovalev craves above all others. Despite a rematch clause existing in the contract for their first fight, at the time of writing it seems far from certain that it will happen, with Ward apparently threatening retirement if he doesn't receive "the right deal". If a rematch doesn't take place, Kovalev's options are severely limited, with few other possible marquee fights at light heavyweight, aside from an unlikely showdown with Adonis Stevenson. I fear that 2017 may be a year of frustration for 'Krusher'.
Total points from BM P4P ranking panel: 72 - The majority of our panel seemed to accept the result of the Ward-Kovalev fight, with only one out of nine ranking 'Krusher' higher than 'S.O.G.'.
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 and Michael Montero.
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.