Yarde vs Kovalev: London’s own Anthony Yarde is out cause a major upset and take the WBO light heavyweight title from Sergey Kovalev in the champion’s own Sergey Kovalev v Anthony Yarde Betting Odds – Winner. Get the best available Boxing odds from all online bookmakers with Oddschecker, the home of betting Respect box? Subscribe to our podcast — State of Combat with Brian Campbell — where we take an in-depth look at the world of boxing each week.
In a somewhat risky decision, Kovalev chose to have his cake and eat it too. Not only will his fight against Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) go on as scheduled Saturday at Traktor Sport Palace (ESPN+, 12:30 p.m. ET), largely because Kovalev gave his word, the “Krusher” is hoping a victory will still get him the Alvarez fight later this fall.
“We did have an offer (from Canelo Alvarez) but we can talk about that after Saturday night,” Kovalev said. “Official agreements were already made with Antony Yarde. My primary task is to defend the title. If the fight is still interesting for Canelo afterwards, then OK.
“[The offer came] just three weeks before this fight. And the offer was indeed a big one, a substantial one. But you never do it like that, because I have to be here. This is my home and this is not what I do.”
Kovalev is not only gambling from the standpoint that losing to Yarde would remove any hope that he lands Alvarez in what would be a career-high payday and likely the final one of this kind available to him, but he’s also risking that Alvarez doesn’t sign on to face someone else regardless.
In Kovalev’s favor, of course, is the mess that Alvarez left behind at DAZN after turning down GGG, pulling out of his annual Mexican Independence Day weekend slot in September and getting stripped of his IBF title when negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko crumbled. Kovalev may end up the lone remaining option that both Alvarez and DAZN agree upon should he come away victorious.
If securing a fight against Alvarez later this fall isn’t enough motivation, recent social media posts from the confident Yarde, a 28-year-old native of Great Britain, have clearly gotten under Kovalev’s skin.
“I will show who is the boss here,” Kovalev said. “He can say everything he wants, but say and do is two different things. I’m already mad with guys like him. He will pay for everything he posted and said. He’s just a kid, not a lion. A little kitten. Small kitten.”