Prior to last year Kovalev was a man known best for the tragic death of his compatriot Roman Simakov. Thankfully though he's managed to put that behind him to become a man that fans are eager to see. He's not just a "Russian fighter" as some may suggest but he's actually a fighter that fans are engaged with, fans want to see him in action and most importantly fans want to see his power connecting with opponent. Of course when he connects he hurts fighters. Every thudding shot of his shakes opponents, even a jab appears to have sledgehammer weight behind it.
The next man trying to derail the Kovalev express will be unbeaten American Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13) who boasts an impressive looking record though has hardly had the victories to make the world sit up and take note. In fact if anything he's managed to compile his record with out ever getting any sort of attention, a true under-the-radar fighter.
Although Agnew has remained under-the-radar his efforts have been spotted by both the IBF and WBO. The IBF some how ranked Agnew, despite having a major win of note, as the #3 ranked challenger whilst the WBO have him at a more realistic #14 ranking, a ranking that enable him to challenge Kovalev.
Of course not many fighters have the power of Kovalev and Agnew certainly doesn't. His last 4 bouts have all gone the distance and whilst there is no shame in going the distance with the naturally big Zack Page, a born survivor, going the distance with Yusuf Mack and Alfredo Contreras isn't the sort of form you'd hope for before getting in the with "Krusher" Kovalev.
Whilst he lacks power Agnew is certainly a talented fighter and he has nice speed, good technical form, lovely body shots and is very confident. He knows he's not the most attractive fighter but he has been calling out a whose who of top Light Heavyweights over the past few years and whether that was because he felt he could beat them, he deserved more attention or he wanted a pay day is up for debate the sounded like he thought he could beat them.
Of course for the skills Agnew has his lack of power and the fact he has never been hit by anyone as powerful or as strong as Kovalev is going to be a problem. When Kovalev hits you you know you've been hit and unlike many powerful fighters he doesn't load up on his shots, instead he throws heavy shots in volume so when he tags you once he'll follow up with 3 or 4 more shots rather than trying to take your head off.
For Agnew the key is to survive the first 6 rounds. That sounds easy on paper but Kovalev's last 6 opponents haven't seen the end of round 4. If Agnew can survive he may be able to ask questions of the Russian. In all honesty however we're expecting Kovalev's power to be felt early on and the ending to come soon afterwards as Agnew is swiftly beaten into submission.
Hopefully a victory for Kovalev will move us a step further to the proposed super fight between Kovalev and fellow power puncher Adonis Stevenson in a bout that really would be a shoot out. Unfortunately rumours are that Stevenson wants nothing to do with Kovalev, a real shame if true. That's a bout every fan seems to want and if Stevenson doesn't then we guess that says something about his character and the fear Kovalev strikes in to the heart of of other world class fighters.