Story by:  Robert Uzzell

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY — On Saturday night, Sergey Kovalev wanted to show the world that “The Krusher” was back.  I’m not sure he ever left.

They say knockouts cause amnesia.  I believe it because prior to his controversial knockout loss to Andre Ward, most observers thought he beat Ward in their first encounter.  You remember that fight, right folks?

If there was any doubt about how Kovalev would respond, he didn’t take long to answer as he dropped Vyacheslav Shabranskyy twice in the first round.  With a little over a minute left, a looping right hand glanced Shabranskyy and took his equilibrium away from the start.   Shabranskyy got up and Kovalev started boxing again.  A jab to the body, a jab up top as Shabranskyy walked in, a left uppercut missed, a jab and hard right scored, and them BOOM!  A left-right-left-right-left-left-right put Shabranskyy down hard.  Shabranskyy got up and the round ended.

In the second, Kovalev landed a hard double left jab to back Shabranskyy up.  A short time later, a left-right-right landed and dropped Shabranskyy again.  He got up again.

Kovalev attacked again with two hard right hands to the body.  A jab wobbled Shabranskyy and put him on skates as Kovalev began to tee off.  His legs were gone and referee Harvey Dock, maybe a bit too late, jumped in to stop it.

Kovalev improves to 31-2-1, 27 KOs.  Shabranskyy drops to 19-2, 16 KOs.

After the fight Kovalev said, “I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status.  My brain, mentally, my conditioning, my body – I’m back.  It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing, I love to make great fights.  This makes boxing interesting. We can make good fights for boxing fans, and make boxing history.  Let’s find out who is the best. Chickenson is on my list.  This is very good for boxing. Let’s do it.”


In another of three televised fights, Sullivan Barrera won a unanimous decision in a slugfest with Felix Valera.  The fight was filled with knockdowns, point deductions, low blows, and head clashes.

Valera dropped Sully B hard with a left hook in the first.  Barrera got up and landed a shot at the end of the first to drop Valera.

In the second, after some great exchanges, a head butt busted open Barrera’s left eye.  A hard left hook by Valera to the groin caused a stoppage in action.  Referee Michael Ortega warned Valera he’d take a point.  Valera began to do his best Ray Leonard-Ricardo Mayorga imitation trying to show Barrera up.  Barrera took the bait and began to throw wild shots to try to take him out.

In the third another low blow caused Ortega to keep his promise and deduct a point from Valera.

In the sixth round, another point was taken from Valera for a low blow.

In the ninth round, Barrera landed a low blow of his own which caused Ortega to deduct a point.

In the end, Barrera won by the scores of 98-88, 97-90, and 97-89.  He is in line for a shot at Dmitry Bivol, (12-0, 10 KOs), the WBA World light heavyweight champion.  With the win, Barrera moves to 21-1, with 14 KOs.  Valera drops to 15-2, 13 KOs.

According to Barrera,  “It was a tough, awkward fight. I have beaten two of the three light heavyweights shown on HBO. I’m just waiting to finally get the opportunity I deserve.”


In the other televised bout, Yuriorkis Gamboa got an early Christmas gift from judges Robin Taylor (94-94), John McKaie (95-92), and Don Trella (96-92 and 114-114 Golovkin vs. Alvarez, including scoring 7th for Alvarez). scored it for Sosa with a 96-92 score.

This was a 10 round fight and Gamboa lost points by suffering a knockdown in the seventh and having a point deducted by holding (final round).  Yet somehow two judges saw Sosa only winning two rounds.

Don Trella needs to be investigated, but the names Jason and Sosa don’t command big enough attention to address the matter.

While I think Gamboa won three or four rounds, if you take two points away from him and STILL say he won six rounds, I’d say we have a problem.

The real problem is this is boxing and it’s been a 60 year old problem that ain’t going to get solved in 2017 or 2018 for that matter.

Afterwards Yuriorkis Gamboa said, “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better match, I only had three weeks to prepare.”

“I didn’t have enough time to train. I only had three weeks. I didn’t have time to get ready.”

“I needed two or three more weeks to lose the weight correctly.”

“Of course the decision was good. I think I won every round, except for the knockdown and the point deduction.”

To Sosa he said,  “You gave a great fight, you have a great heart.”

Jason Sosa commented, “That’s boxing. It was a fun fight. I took some breaks, but I thought I did enough to win.”

“I know I did enough to win the fight. I didn’t get hurt at all during the fight. I spar with middleweights, so that was nothing.”
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