Sergey Kovalev (left) pummeled Cedric Agnew, notching a pulverizing knockout win. (Tim Larsen/AP)
Three thoughts on Sergey Kovalev’s knockout win over Cedric Agnew...
1.) This was a predictable blowout
Kovalev was a huge favorite against the undefeated, but untested, Agnew, a Chicago native who was one of the few HBO-approvable opponents Main Events could dig up to fight the avoided Kovalev. And the fight played out as expected, with Kovalev winning every minute of every round, backing Agnew up with a steady diet of power shots, dropping him in the second and sixth rounds before finishing him off with a straight left hand to the body in the seventh.
Agnew, who described Kovalev as “ordinary” in the weeks before the fight, offered little resistance, occasionally pushing back a Kovalev assault with a combination, opening a decent cut over Kovalev’s right eye with a head butt, but spending the bulk of the rounds covering up. No one expected Agnew to win but it was fair to hope for more than a glorified sparring session. Which brings us to ...
2.) This was a waste of time
I understand why Kovalev-Agnew was made. Originally, HBO was willing to give Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson soft touches, with the understanding that the two top dogs in the light heavyweight division would meet in a title unification fight in the fall. Stevenson scuttled those plans earlier in the week by reneging on the deal and moving over to Showtime. That left Kovalev with an unheralded opponent that served as a tuneup fight for, well, nothing.
You can’t blame Kovalev -- since his days fighting on NBC Sports Network, Kovalev has been willing to fight all comers. And it’s clear Kovalev isn’t happy with Stevenson’s antics. When asked about Stevenson after the fight, Kovalev was succinct.
“I don’t want to speak on Adonis Stevenson,” Kovalev said. “Adonis Stevenson is a piece of sh--.”
3.) So, now what?
Good question. If you have an answer, I’m sure Main Events and HBO would love to hear it. With titleholders Stevenson, Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov fighting on Showtime, the 175-pound division offers few options. Jean Pascal beat Lucian Bute on HBO earlier this year, but Pascal is promoted by Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter, who may have issues cutting a deal with HBO in the future.
Moreover, Pascal publicly has expressed more interest in fighting Stevenson than a showdown with Kovalev. Main Events has rising contender Isaac Chilmeba on the roster, but Chilemba is at least a fight or two away from being a serious challenger. Unless Andre Ward expresses interest -- and Ward, who is embroiled in a conflict with promoter Dan Goossen, has yet to indicate he is ready to move up to light heavyweight -- or the winner of May’s super middleweight fight between Carl Froch and George Groves is ready, Kovalev is a fighter without an opponent.
-- Chris Mannix