Story by: Chip Mitchell
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs), returns to HBO Boxing After Dark and Atlantic City on August 2nd to defend his WBO Light Heavyweight title against undefeated Blake “Il Capo” Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) at Revel Casino Hotel. Kovalev is coming off a stoppage victory over Cedric Agnew. Caparello earned a hard fought win over Elvir Muriqi.
The fact that Caparello is a crafty southpaw gives fans hope that this fight could be a prelude to a match with Stevenson, who is also a lefty. Kovalev needs to stay focused, as he doesn’t want his dream of fighting Adonis Stevenson to be ‘Krushed’ with a loss to Caparello.
Sergey Kovalev – Kovalev has victories over Darnell Boone, Lionel Thompson, Gabriel Campillo, Nate Cleverly, Ismail Sillakh, and Cedric Agnew.
Blake Caparello – Caparello has wins over Allan Green, Elvir Muriqi, Aaron Pryor Jr, and the once promising Dante Craig.
Sergey Kovalev hasn’t gone beyond 8 rounds, so there are unknowns that arise about his endurance. Kovalev can get into position, but doesn’t always exert the greatest footwork. He often comes in straight without using angles, which can sometimes lead to extra effort on his part. He doesn’t have the fastest hands. Oddly enough, if a weakness chart was done on Joe Louis, the author could cut out facts from above and paste them into Louis’s chart.
Blake Caparello often leaves his right hand low, which leaves him open for a left hook. He also paws with the jab and often loads up on his left hand when he sees an opening. He’s been down and in trouble early against a guy who was 11-7 at the time.
Blake Caparello – Blake is good at throwing hooks off of the jab. He’ll also mix things up and throw decent shots to the body. One wouldn’t say he has fast hands, but he’s quick with his punches and utilizes craftiness to make up for lack of speed. He uses angles and employs lots of movement, perfect foil needed for a fight with Kovalev. Furthermore, he is a solid counterpuncher when he doesn’t choose to take the lead. Caparello stands nearly 6 feet 2 inches and his reach is 74 inches, which are great numbers for this division.
Sergey Kovalev – “You can run, but you can’t hide.” They don’t call him ‘Krusher’ for nothing. Like the Brown Bomber, Sergey will stalk you with the intent to destroy you. Also like Louis, he doesn’t waste a lot of punches. He is very methodical in his approach. What he lacks in speed, he makes up with power, as only three opponents have seen the final bell. Ironically, he doesn’t get credit for his timing, which assists in setting up his power shots. Kovalev is very powerful and knows how to finish when he gets an opponent hurt. He is very accurate and can knock an opponent out easily with either hand. Refer to aforesaid hypothetical Louis chart. Same deal with his strengths.
The Eye Test
Sergey Kovalev is definitely the favorite in this fight. He doesn’t yield a lot in terms of flaws and if you see one, you’d better capitalize before he closes you out. Conversely, he is going to wait for Caparello to make a mistake and attempt to finish him.
In order for Caparello to win, he’s going to have box and utilize every foot of the ring with movement. When in close, he needs to pick a side to move to defensively (give angles), thus making Kovalev extend and reach across his body to land punches.
For Kovalev to win, he must apply constant pressure, as Caparello will be up to task with stick-and-move action. It would be nice to see Sergey throw more combinations, but he hits so hard that it is often not necessary.
Blake Caparello is going to make Sergey Kovalev follow him around the ring for as long as this fight lasts. He will box and move, stop and potshot, and move again, while occasionally loading up for a homerun shot. Kovalev will have to work in this fight, as Caparello potentially could extend him beyond the early rounds and into territory he hasn’t seen.
This is a fight in which Kovalev should work on cutting the ring off as he has in the past, as opposed to the straight attack. Caparello won’t be around for straightforward movement. If so, he’ll be victim #23. Kovalev will have to endure Caparello’s side to side movement in order to land his money punch.
This has the making of a competitive fight. The plan for Caparello is to outbox and outhustle Kovalev. Caparello can and maybe will do that…. for a while. However, the bad habit Caparello has of dropping his right hand leaves him wide open for big left hook from Kovalev. That is the most likely ending for this fight. However, expect to see a jab making Caparello’s vision foggy for a split second- time enough for Kovalev to land a follow-up right hand to end the fight.
Kovalev by mid-to-late TKO