11/25/2017-New York, MSG- For the past few months, former trainer of Sergey (Krusher) Kovalev’s (30-2-1D-26K) former trainer John David Jackson has called Kovalev everything EXCEPT a Russian. “Quitter, drunk, bullheaded, untrainable were just a FEW of the words he used. Jackson showed his rodent tendencies when he talked to Andre Ward’s trainer, Virgil Cunningham before Ward and Kovalev fought. I think JDJ KNEW his ass was toast and told Ward’s camp how to fight Kovalev. That was some real rat-packin’ shit if you ask ME. Well, last night with a new trainer in tow and all his Vodka demons exorcised, the mad Russian returned to action in a battle for the titles vacated by the retired Andre Ward. Standing (not for long, though) in his way was another long named Russian, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1-16K). I was hoping this would be a quickie and I wouldn’t have to try and remember how to spell that dude’s last name. Seems like the kids from those countries would have a hard time learning to spell their names. In any event, the hard punching Kovalev treated his opponent as if he were wearing a JDJ mask. Jackson told the world, Sergey couldn’t handle body shots, well Shabranskyy, unfortunately, will never know if there’s any truth to THAT. I wonder if Jackson called HIS camp. Sergey came out determined to inform his hapless opponent that he should’ve found some place else to go in New York on THIS night. Ramming hard, straight shots to the body with both hands, Kovalev quickly had Shabranskyy in deep Russian, poop. Kovalev then changed location and a three punch set deposited Shabranskyy on the mat, and in serious trouble. Another series of hard shots produced the same result but somehow and UNFORTUNATELY, Shabranskyy made it through the round. It was OBVIOUS he was NOT gonna’ be doing a lotta’ work tonight.
The fatal second saw a hungry Kovalev searching for a quick ending, landing hard shots to his still-buzzed prey. Two more knockdowns followed from the heavy hands of a sharp, precise, Kovalev and with a wobbly, helpless Shabranskyy feeling like he was in a gang fight, ref Harvey Dock jumped in saving him from having his career ended, if not WORSE. The time of the stoppage was 2:36 seconds of round two. This was as sharp and focused as I’ve ever seen Kovalev and he seems ready to regain his position atop the light heavyweight class. His shots to the ribs were punishing and he was no longer the head hunter he’d been in the past. Somewhere, JDJ is sayin’ ‘dammit, he wouldn’t do that for ME’
In the semi, once beaten Solomon Berrera (21-1-14K) stepped in against a wild swinging, awkward, but tough, Felix Valera (15-2-113K). Valera’s slate was a lot more impressive than HE was. This was an ugly foul filled affair, that included everything that’s illegal in a pro fight. I can’t think of ANY infractions that were NOT committed. The first round was a wild one which saw both guys getting dropped. Berrera was dropped by a short left hook and a right hand was the problem for Valera. It was a rough contest and seemed a lot longer than ten rounds. Valera tried his best to get DQ’d after the many warnings for low blows he delivered, but the ref only took away points THREE times. At end of the day, Barrera won unanimously and he’s probably thinking of a shot at Kovalev, then, maybe not.
In the first bout on this HBO broadcast, classic underachiever, often dropped Yory Gamboa (27-2-17K), other than a flash glove touching the canvas knockdown in the seventh, Gamboa managed to stay on his feet. His opponent, Jason (J. Russell Pelt Loves Me) Sosa (20-2-4D-15K) lost a majority decision over ten rounds. It seems like Sosa’s fights are hardly ever clear cut. With 4 draws and numerous close calls, he can’t catch a break. This fight seemed like a dance with all the hugging goin’ on. Gamboa would throw a quick flurry, with little pop, grab Sosa and wait for the ref. After the clinch, Gamboa would take his little walks in the park before getting back involved again. It was a rather tepid affair, actually and I really don’t see once hot prospect Gamboa really raising any hell in the future. He sure as hell won’t be beating any top lightweights anytime soon.
Finally, my heartfelt condolences go out to the family of young Cesar Diaz. I mentioned this before but feel the need to say it again. I’ve known Cesar since he was a 12-13 years old training at our gym ,A.V. Boxing club in Palmdale. He was one of the nicest kids ever, an extremely talented fighter, winner of many, many amateur titles and an Olympic prospect. Cesar recently signed with Oscar DeLa Hoya’s Golden Boy group and was 7-0-6K as a rising bantamweight prospect. On the 24th of this month, Diaz was tragically killed in an automobile accident in Palmdale which also caused serious injuries to his girlfriend who is now in the Antelope Valley Hospital in serious condition. As most who know me, I am an avowed Atheist and when shit like this happens to good people, it just reinforces MY feelings that there is no ‘supreme being’ watching over ANYBODY. I’m not going any further on THAT note, at least at THIS time.