Sergey Kovalev vs Igor Mikhalkin Preview March 3rd
WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev will be taking on his IBO counterpart and fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin at the Theater at Madison Square Garden this Saturday, March 3rd. Kovalev is a former WBA and IBF champ who regained the vacant WBO title by stopping Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy in the second round in his last bout in November. Mikhalkin last fought in December when he beat Doudou Ngumbu by a 12-round unanimous decision. The 12-round bout can be seen live in North America on HBO while fans in the UK can catch it on BoxNation.
Kovalev vs Mikhalkin Betting Odds
Here are the betting odds from online sportsbook BetOnline.ag (full review here).
- Igor Mikhalkin +800
- Sergey Kovalev -2000
Kovalev lost his titles to Andre Ward by a highly-controversial unanimous decision by scores of 114-113 across the board in November, 2016. He then lost by premature stoppage in the eighth round of their rematch last June. The 34-year-old Kovalev still has an impressive impressive mark of 30-2-1 along with 27 Kos to his name and has fought 136 rounds since turning pro in 2009. As mentioned, both defeats were controversial and at the hands of Andre Ward while the draw came against Grover Young in 2011.
The draw with Young was stopped in the second round due to an accidental foul and Young couldn’t continue. Kovalev has a 72.5-inch reach and is 6-feet tall. He’s basically a KO artist with a 79 per cent knockout ratio and has enough power in his fists to drop opponents with both body and head shots. He’s an exceptional offensive boxer who also has a pretty good defence and a solid chin. However, he didn’t press the action like he usually does when he fought Ward and showed his opponent too much respect.
Kovalev likes to establish his snapping jab and usually punches in flurries rather than depending on one big shot. He’s beaten the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal (twice), Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Gabriel Campillo, Darnell Boone and Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev’s a good boxer/puncher, but can also get frustrated in the ring by an elite boxer, such as Ward. Kovalev should have regained his confidence by stopping Sharbranskyy as he didn’t appear to be gun shy and let his hands go.
The 32-year-old Mikhalkin won the vacant IBO Title by beating Thomas Oosthuizen via unanimous decision last May and then defended it against Ngumbu. He’s a southpaw who fights out of Germany and climbs through the ropes with a record of 21-1 along with 9 Kos. His lone loss came to Aleksy Kuziemski on a 10-round unanimous decision back in May of 2010. He turned pro in 2007 and has boxed 150 rounds since then.
Mikhalkin is also a former European Champion and has a pretty solid chin, but he hasn’t got much power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 41 per cent. In fact, he was stripped of his European title for failing a drug test. He hasn’t faced any world-class opponents as of yet either so will be taking a step up in class against Kovalev. Mikhalkin is 6-feet-inch tall, with an unlisted reach so will have an inch height advantage. He’s an aggressive boxer with good mobility and combination punching abilities who also likes to go to the body.
Kovalev should have shown a killer instinct and gone after Ward when he decked him in their first fight and he was a bit too timid in the rematch. However, he more or less blamed the losses on former trainer John David Jackson. He was back to normal against Sharbranskyy and luckily Mikhalkin doesn’t have much power. As long as Kovalev’s aggressive in the ring, doesn’t hold back on his punches, and shows no mercy then he should win this bout. He doesn’t have to go toe-to-toe from the opening bell, but needs to press the action and force Mikhalkin onto his back foot as much as he can.
Kovalev should make it two wins in a row since losing to Ward.
Play: Kovalev -2000 @ BetOnline.ag
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Igor Mikhalkin betting • Sergey Kovalev betting