Sergey Kovalev vs Tervel Pulev Preview May 14th, 2022
Former WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring for the first time in two-and-a-half years when he takes on unbeaten Tervel Pulev of Bulgaria this Saturday, May 14th. The 10-round cruiserweight bout from Inglewood, California can be seen live on Triller Fight Club/FITE TV. Kovalev last fought in November, 2019 when he was stopped by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in the 11th round to lose his title. Pulev last boxed in January, 2021 when he stopped Vikapita Meroro in the ninth round.
Kovalev vs Pulev Betting Odds
Here are the betting odds from online sportsbook BetOnline.ag (full review here).
- Tervel Pulev +100
- Sergey Kovalev -130
Kovalev is also a former WBA, IBF, and IBA champ 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.
The former champ is now 39 years old and has lost four of his last eight 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.
Kovalev still has an impressive impressive mark of 34-4-1 though along with 29 Kos to his name and has fought 184 rounds since turning pro in 2009. His 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 with a 74.4 per cent knockout ratio and has enough power in his fists to drop opponents with both body and head shots. However, he’s a pretty good boxer who used to have a pretty good defence and solid chin. He likes to establish his snapping jab and usually punches in flurries rather than depending on one big shot.
He’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.
Pulev is also 39 years old and is the brother of heavyweight Kubrat Pulev and owns a perfect mark of 16-0 with 13 Ko’s. He’s boxed just 57 rounds since making his pro debut in 2016 after a fine amateur career. He started boxing at the age of 11 and won a silver medal at the 2010 European Amateur Boxing Championships and the 2010 European Cup in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Before that he won gold at international tournaments in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He also fought at three European and two World Championships as well as the junior European championships. He topped things off by competing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England and won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division after losing a decision to current heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Pulev stands just over 6-feet-1-inch tall with an unlisted reach which gives him a 1.5-inch edge in height on Kovalev. He’s displayed very good power up to now with a current knockout ratio of 81.2 per cent. He’s never fought a legitimate contender as a pro but stopped Leonardo Bruzzese in two rounds to win the vacant European Cruiserweight Title in 2018 and then beat DeShon Webster by 12-round unanimous decision to take the vacant WBA International Cruiserweight Belt a year later.
Pulev is a naturally bigger man with a lot of power as Kovalev steps up to cruiserweight but Pulev has fought limited opposition as a pro even though he had plenty of amateur experience. It’s hard to tell what Kovalev has left in the tank after a 2.5-year layoff. He’s also 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 Pulev does. I’m on the fence with this one, but will go with Kovalev due to his far superior pro experience.
Kovalev’s best days are behind him, but he may have enough in the tank to pull it out.
Play: Kovalev -130 @ BetOnline.ag
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Sergey Kovalev betting • Terlev Pulev betting