Sergey Kovalev was very anxious ahead of the unification battle against Saul Canelo Alvarez on 2 November. The WBO Lightweight World Champion was worried he would have a hard time beating the WBA and WBC Middle-Class champions in Las Vegas, United States.
Kovalev’s coach, Buddy McGirt, revealed that Kovalev was very excited about Canelo. However, he revealed that Kovalev was overcome with anxiety seeing Canelo’s lunge.
“He (Kovalev) is very worried. After he lost to Andre Ward and (Eleider) Alvarez there were many negative things said about him. So, I think he should appear to prove the critics wrong, ” McGirt said.
For McGirt, the chance to duel with Canelo became the best moment for Kovalev to prove himself worthy of being the ruler of a Light Heavyweight. “I think boxing needs a fight like this,” McGirt told Sky Sports.
“Kovalev needs a challenge. Canelo, he defeated everyone. I respect Canelo for what he did, he has to go up to 79.3kg. I really appreciate it. It shows a true champion. I just think that it will be a great boxing night, ” he explained.
McGirt has already sent a message to Kovalev how to tame Canelo in the ring. “Against Canelo must use skills, not superior strength,” he said.
Asked whether Kovalev wanted to be recognized as one of the world’s elite boxers, McGirt replied: “Yes, I believe so. He fought with everything they put in front of him, and I just thought he deserved it.”
For McGirt, Kovalev’s figure was a boxer differentiator in the current Light Heavyweight. “He made the light heavyweight division interesting which at that time was not interesting,” he said.
Canelo pushed his own limits when entering the light heavyweight in his career. McGirt said Kovalev would not depend on his size and strength. “I don’t consider us bigger, stronger men. My goal is to be a better man that night,” McGirt said. “His (Kovalev) boxing IQ is very underestimated.”
He praised Canelo’s figure as a smart boxer when carrying out his duties in the ring. “Canelo is a great fighter, he is very smart, his boxing IQ is also high. I don’t think, so far physically, I don’t think that’s a lot of risk to him, “he said.
” I don’t see strength. I see the skill and as I say, I see being the best man that night. “