Monday, January 30, 2023  |



Lem’s latest: Blake Caparello respects, doesn’t fear Kovalev

Kovalev Agnew action fukuda

WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev (shown here landing a punch on Cedric Agnew in March 2014) will defend his belt against Blake Caparello on Aug. 2. Photo by Naoki Fukuda.


Although unbeaten Blake Caparello respects the punching power of WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, he is not afraid of it.

“Sergey Kovalev is the biggest puncher in boxing. Anyone can hit hard. We are working on different game plans to deal with Sergey’s power,” said Caparello, who will challenge Kovalev on Aug. 2 at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City.

“I won’t know how hard he punches until I get in the ring with him. … Nothing plays on my mind. I am very mentally tough. Sergey Kovalev has power, but I don’t fear him.”

Caparello (19-0-1, 6 knockouts) will be up against his most difficult opponent in Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs), who is 12-0-1 with 12 knockouts in his past 13 fights. That run includes a fourth-round stoppage that dethroned previously unbeaten WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in August 2013.

“I wanted to fight Kovalev because he is the best there is in the division,” said Caparello, who will be fighting outside his native Australia for only the second time. “He is the man I want to beat. If we go toe-to-toe and his power is too much, we will change the plan.”

A 27-year-old southpaw who stands an inch taller than Kovalev at 6-foot-1, Caparello’s past two wins have been unanimous decisions over Allan Green and Elvir Muriqi in October 2013 and last January, respectively.

If need be, however, Caparello said he can finish the job inside of the distance.

“I do have the pop to stop people. When I put my punches together, I can really hurt people,” said Caparello. “I have had a lot of great sparring camps. If an opening appears I will go for the knockout, but I am going to fight to the end.”

In the mean time, IBF/WBA titleholder Bernard Hopkins has expressed interest in either Kovalev or RING champion Adonis Stevenson, who also holds the WBC belt.

But Caparello sees that as an advantage.

“I get the sense they are looking past me. I am very confident in myself. I know I am going to win,” said Caparello, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “I already told Lou to get me a unification fight with Adonis Stevenson after I beat Kovalev.”

Kovalev’s last opponent was also a previously unbeaten left-hander in Cedric Agnew, whom he stopped in the seventh round after flooring him in the second and sixth.

Kovalev insists, however, that he is not overlooking Caparello.

“Blake has an advantage because he is coming to get the title. He is hungry and has nothing to lose,” said Kovalev. “It is my job to keep the title. More pressure on me to defend the title. I don’t know Bernard Hopkins, all I know is my next opponent, and his name is Blake Caparello.”

Kovalev-Caparello is part of an HBO-televised split-site tripleheader that will include a welterweight battle between Brandon Rios and Diego Chaves and a clash between undefeated junior welterweights Jessie Vargas and Anton Novikov from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Note: Kovalev-Caparello quotes from a release by Main Events



Should a WBC-mandated title defense against Deontay Wilder come to fruition, Bermane Stiverne plans to be the instructor.

“Wilder’s not a threat, but I’m taking him serious. I take all my opponents seriously,” said Stiverne. “I’m going to teach that little kid a lesson. It’s a shame his promoter and manager are putting him in such a big fight like this so early in his career.”

Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) was last in action in May, when his sixth-round technical knockout over Chris Arreola earned the belt that was vacated by Vitali Klitschko, who retired to pursue a political career in Ukraine. Prior to that, Stiverne had not been in the ring since April 2013, when he unanimously decisioned Arreola.

But Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) said that he saw the “same old” Stiverne against Arreola from his ringside seat at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.

“I think he’s funny. Maybe he should think about doing a comedy act after I beat him? Friends have sent me stuff he’s said and done. It’s funny. He’s like a little kid who needs attention,” said Stiverne

“So he keeps opening his mouth. His trash talking doesn’t bother me at all. I saw some people who brought up what he’s said. What am I supposed to do, hand my title to him? I guess he wants to entertain his fans. If he thinks his tricks are going to bother me, he’s going to be in big trouble.”

Note: Stiverne’s quotes are from a release by Eye Of The Tiger Management