It’s rare to see a boxing bout framed so closely, so bettors should expect a tight tussle on Saturday between Sergey Kovalev vs Tervel Pulev.
It’s Russia vs Bulgaria in a battle of the cruiserweights and boxing betting odds have Kovalev as the slight -120 favorite.
Kovalev Showing His Worth
Sergey Kovalev hasn’t fought for almost three years, but his last fight came against Canelo Alvarez.
In an early indication that Canelo could struggle last weekend, Kovalev pushed the Mexican champion to the end.
Kovalev was ahead on the scorecards before being knocked out in the penultimate round, and despite being 39 years old, he still has the ability to win at the highest level.
The Russian is in the twilight of his career but with 29 knockouts from 39 fights, he can’t be overlooked. It’s why he’s the current sportsbook favorite and the long layoff could see a resurgence in his career.
Fighting at cruiserweight could help him and he’s ready to get back in the ring.
“It’s a very exciting moment for me because it’s two-and-half years since I fought,” Kovalev told The Ring. “I stayed in shape but didn’t spar. Everything is going like it should be. I’m excited to be back in the ring.
“This fight will show me if I can go to the world title or not. It’s a nervous moment for myself.”
He has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Alvarez, Andre Ward, and Bernard Hopkins, so fighting Tervel Pulev could be seen as a much easier fight.
Despite his opponent being unbeaten, Kovalev is the proven fighter and we wouldn’t be surprised to see his odds firm throughout the week.
Is Pulev Up to the Mark?
It’s always tough to weigh up how strong unbeaten fighters’ records are, especially when the level of opposition has been poor.
Tervel Pulev hasn’t fought anyone of note, but he comes off a ninth-round knockout win and he looked impressive.
He hasn’t fought in anything above a two-star fight, but boxing odds are giving him the ultimate respect against a former champion.
He’s currently -110 to score his 17th consecutive victory and 13 of them have come by knockout. However, we have big concerns about his ability to match Kovalev professionalism.
Pulev has had only one fight in the last two-and-a-half years, so he’s also lacking ring time.
We would have priced him around +140 to beat Kovalev, but we must respect the odds. He is a rising fighter with more upside than Kovalev, but fighting in such an important fight could get to him.
It all depends on desire and whether Kovalev has any. He might be happy, at this stage of his career, to collect the cheque. However, if Kovalev turns up with anything close to his best, he should be victorious.
“I don’t really study my opponents. I will watch one or two rounds from his last couple of fights so I can see what style he likes – does he like to fight inside or from a distance then I can prepare. I just can’t wait to get inside the ring and show the world who is the best cruiserweight on the planet,” Kovalev added.
Because of his confidence and some support in betting online markets, we’re going with Kovalev to extend his career before he gets into the Hall of Fame.