Sergey Kovalev vs Robin Safar Betting Odds and Prediction

By Boxing

Sergey Kovalev vs Robin Safar Preview May 18th, 2024

Former Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring for the first time in two years when he takes on undefeated Robin Safar of Sweden this Saturday, May 18th. The 10-round cruiserweight bout from Saudi Arabia can be seen live on pay-per-view on the undercard of the Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury event. Kovalev last fought in May, 2022 when he beat Tervel Pulev by a 10-round unanimous decision. Safar last saw action in April of last year when he halted DeShon Webster after five rounds.

Kovalev vs Safar Betting Odds

Here are the betting odds from online sportsbook (full review here).

  • Sergey Kovalev +130
  • Robin Safar -160

My Pick

Kovalev is now 41 years old and a former WBO, WBA, IBF, and IBA Light Heavyweight Champion who regained the vacant WBO title by stopping Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy in the second round in November, 2017. He then lost that belt and the IBA Title in 2018 when he was stopped in seven rounds by Eleider Alvarez while ahead on all three scorecards but beat Alvarez by unanimous decision in a rematch six months later. However, he’s lost four of his last nine bouts.

He lost his WBA/IBF/WBO 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 seven months later. His last defeat came at the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2019 when he was stopped in the 11th round to lose his WBO Belt. Kovalev still owns a pretty impressive mark of 35-4-1 though along with 29 Ko’s to his name and has fought 194 rounds since turning pro in 2009 following a fine amateur career.

His lone draw came against Grover Young via a technical two-round decision in 2011 when Young couldn’t continue after an accidental foul. There’s no doubt the Russian’s career is on the downswing though and he’s been stopped in three of his four defeats. Kovalev possesses a 72.5-inch reach and stands 6-feet tall. He’s basically regarded as a KO artist as 83 per cent of his wins have been by stoppage and has enough power in his fists to drop opponents with both body and head shots. However,he hasn’t stopped anybody since halting Anthony Yarde in the 11th round five years ago. Kovalev is a pretty good boxer who used to have a good defence and solid chin.

He likes to establish his snapping jab and usually punches in flurries rather than depending on one big shot. Kovalev’s beaten the likes of Yarde, Eleider Alvarez, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal (twice), Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Gabriel Campillo, Darnell Boone and Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev’s a good boxer/puncher, but he can get frustrated in the ring by an elite boxer, which is what happened to some extent when he faced Ward. He’s also been distracted in the past by his questionable out-of-the-ring antics.

Safar is 31 years old and the native of Sweden fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He makes the ring walk with a perfect record of 16-0 with 12 Ko’s and has boxed just 61 rounds since making his pro debut in 2017 after an amateur career which saw him reach the 2013 Swedish National Championships. He measures 6-feet-3-inches tall with an unlisted reach so is three inches taller than Kovalev. As far as power is concerned, Safar also has plenty of it as his current knockout ratio comes in at 75 per cent.

Safar started his pro career in Sweden as his first seven bouts were held there. He fought once in Mexico and then decided to move to America. Just seven of his 16 opponents have entered the ring with a winning record but he’s stopped nine of the last 10 and has six first-round knockouts to his name. Safar’s biggest victories have come against Israel Ornelas, Demetrius Banks, Denis Grachev and Antonio Brown.


Safar is the naturally bigger man with a lot of power as Kovalev fights as a cruiserweight for just the second time. Safar has been out of the ring for a year and has fought limited opposition as a pro though while Kovalev has plenty of experience against elite boxers. It’s hard to tell what Kovalev has left in the tank after a two-year-layoff, which follows a 2.5-year layoff as this is just his second fight in the last five years. He’s also 41 years old and in the twilight of his career and can’t take a punch like he used to. Kovalev needs to get off to a fast start, be aggressive and not hold back on his punches as he needs to make sure he lands something solid before Safar does. Still, I think Safar has most of the advantages here as he’s 10 years younger as been more active and is a natural cruiserweight. I’m giving him the edge.

Kovalev’s best days are behind him.

Play: Safar -160 @

Check out my recent boxing betting picks to see my current form.

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