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Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

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  • Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

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    By Arne K. Lang

    The consensus of opinion regarding tonight’s fight at Chelyabinsk between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde was that….well, there was no consensus, save that it would not bode well for Yarde if both fighters were still standing at the final bell. Fighting in his hometown, and with a monster payday reportedly looming against Canelo Alvarez should he win, “Krusher” was unlikely to get the worst of it if the fight went to the scorecards. But there would be no controversial decision. In a fight that started slowly and then shifted Yarde’s way, Kovalev stemmed the momentum, took charge in the 10th, and then closed the show in the next round with a scorching left hand that left Yarde flat on his back, gasping for air.

    In handicapping the fight, Kovalev certainly had more check marks in the plus column. A former three belt champion and the reigning WBO 175-pound title-holder, Kovalev would be appearing in his 16th world title fight, his second with Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt, with whom he had great rapport. By contrast, Yarde, although undefeated (18-0), had answered the bell for only 51 rounds and had defeated only nine fighters with winning records. Moreover, the Englishman had fought only 12 amateur fights before turning pro.

    However, at age 36, Kovalev was getting long in the tooth and in some of his more recent fights he had stamina issues. Moreover, there was a school of thought that Yarde was a beast. In his 30 fights, amateur and pro, he had scored 28 knockouts.

    Yarde’s first good round was the seventh and he followed that up with a very strong eighth in which he hurt Kovalev and had the Krusher looking tired. But the assumption that he had paced himself brilliantly proved to be a mirage. As the bout moved into the home stretch, it was the younger man that was more fatigued.

    Kovalev backed Yarde against the ropes and hurt him in the 10th. The Russian repeatedly had success with his hard left jab (shades of Larry Holmes) and it was a jab that ended it. Yarde was too exhausted to make it to his feet and was counted out.

    Kovalev reportedly has already agreed to meet Canelo in November or December. Tonight he may have added an extra zero to his purse.

    Kovalev vs. Canelo, likely at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a blockbuster. Let the hype begin.


    The co-feature between knockout artists Aleksei Papin and Ilunga Makabu wasn’t expected to last the distance, but it went the full 12 and was a highly entertaining affair climaxed by a great 12th round. When the smoke cleared, Ilunga, who went to post a slight favorite, improved to 26-2 (24) by dint of winning a majority decision. It was the second straight win on Russian soil for the Congolese southpaw who fights out of Johannesburg. In his previous go, he stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in the fifth round at Ekaterinburg.

    Papin was 11-0 going in with 10 knockouts but the 31-year-old Russian, a former kickboxing champion, was moving up in class against Makabu, a former world title challenger. In the 12th, Makabu scored a knockdown with a straight left after bussing him with a left-right combination, but Papin wasn’t badly hurt and came back to rock him in the final seconds. The knockdown seemingly spelled the difference as two judges had it 115-113 with the third scoring it even (113-113).

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    These were both edge of the seat exciting fights. Great way to start the day and plenty more boxing in store for the rest of the evening.


    • #3
      I liked the round where Kovalev was almost knocked out!


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kid Blast
        Easy work for Canelo
        Canelo was probably going to be somewhere around -175 to -200 favorite before Kovalev fought Yarde. Now my guess is Canelo opens around -500 to -550.


        • #5
          I would be shocked if the line were that high.


          • #6
            Originally posted by ArneK. View Post
            I would be shocked if the line were that high.
            You are right, the first line I am seeing is at Canelo -330.


            • #7
              Gotta admire Kovalev’s grit to beat the guy that knocked him out in a comeback fight, and then stop Yarde.

              I didn’t think Yarde would last 10 to be honest.

              Yarde certainly talked a lot of $hite beforehand. . . . .

              Ah well, at least he turned up for the fight and didn’t lay down.