Former unified light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) is energized and reinvigorated as he returns to the ring on Saturday against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy for the vacant WBO world title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Kovalev is a 10:1 favorite to regain his WBO belt in the HBO-televised fight. He is coming off consecutive losses to Andre Ward who then promptly retired.
“Sergey’s made it very clear that this was all a wake-up call for him,” said promoter Kathy Duva. “He’s decided to get it together. You can’t be the champion of the world and out with your friends.”
“The day he won the title from Bernard Hopkins, Bernard told Sergey, ‘You’re going to be a champion as long as you want to be. As long as you keep focus, nobody’s ever going to beat you. You’re going to lose when you lose focus.'”
“He’s got a chance now to hit the reset button. He’s still the man in the division. There are a lot of talented fighters in the division. They are all climbing up to beat him. Now they are all going to have to chase him. It’s a more comfortable place to be. We’ll see what happens on November 25.”