Kovalev, fighting against the previously unbeaten Cedric Agnew (26-1, 13), had come in to the contest with a series of early stoppages andhis power had put the division on alert. No one really wanted to fight Kovalev and it showed as Agnew got in the ring but hardly put up a fight.
Instead of fighting it was obvious that Agnew was more intent on surviving. This was clear in the opening round as Agnew put up his guard and retreated behind it in an uneventful opener that saw neither man landing much of note. In fact in the first 3 minutes Agnew's only notable shot was a low blow which sent Kovalev down to the canvas. It was the first of many fouls committed by Agnew.
Whilst the first round was very uneventful the second round saw Kovalev moving up a gear as he finally began to get to Agnew. Agnew's defence, to his credit, handled many of the shots Kovalev threw in his direction but enough got threw to drop Agnew at the end of the round. By now it was clear, the American wasn't going to try and fight a fight with Kovalev but instead mess him around, be negative and hope to frustrate the Russian puncher. The Russian however was having none of it and in round 3 the "Krusher" again hurt Agnew who was being systematically broken down by Kovalev's heavy shots. Even the guard of the challenger didn't help with shots breaking through the arms of the American.
In round 4 we saw a mostly controlled effort from Kovalev who looked for openings for the first half of the round, before a clash of heads, initiated by Agnew, seemed to throw Kovalev off his stride. Kovalev's composure seemed to go for the rest of the round as he tried to behead Agnew with every shot. At the end of the round it was clear why, the headclash had opened up a gash on the right eye brow of Kovalev, a cut that Max Kellerman of HBO suggested was the first Kovalev had suffered as a professional.
Agnew again fouled in round 5 where his highlight was a low blow that he was given a warning for. It was clear that he was being ground down and looking for any reprieve he could get. Unfortunate for him reprieves don't come easily against Kovalev who scored a second knock down early in round 6 before really going to work on the mid section of the challenger. It seemed that whilst Agnew didn't want to fight back, he also didn't want to just crumble and took his licks like a man through a calculated assault from Kovalev.
By the end of round 6 Kovalev had suffered a cut over his left eye, apparently from an elbow, whilst Agnew's face was looking like that of an attack victim. He was bloodied, swollen and appeared to be crumbling from the pasting he was receiving.
Although Agnew's face was wearing the scars of battle it was his body that was really feeling it and inside a minute of round 7 a body attack sent him down for the third time. This time he took the count and accepted his fate rather than prolong his own beating.
After the fight Kovalev was interviewed and asked his thoughts on Adonis Stevenson's departure from HBO to Showtime. His answer was simple as he called Stevenson a "piece of shit". It was harsh and scathing though shows his real opinion of a man who seemed to do all he could to avoid the Russian in what would have been a Light Heavyweight super fight. Stevenson has his reasons though we are expecting a fan backlash against him as the Kovalev fan base continues to swell due to his destructive power, aggressive mentality and "will fight anyone" mentality, something that isn't shared with Stevenson.
(Image courtesy of HBO)