By Tom Donelson / Member of Boxing Writers Association
On March 29, 2014 (Atlantic City, NJ) Sergey Kovalev faced another undefeated fighter in Cedric Agnew for the WBO light heavyweight championship. Kovalev could have been forgiven for overlooking Agnew since he had bigger fights in mind. Agnew may have been undefeated but no one gave him much of a chance.
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In the preliminary bout before the main event saw Karim Mayfield looking to make a name for himself against Thomas Dulorme. In the opening round, Dulorme landed a solid left hook and kept the distance against Mayfield. Dulorme used his jab to win the opening round as he landed another big left hook after a solid jab near the end of the round. Dulorme continued to control real estate and kept the distance in the second round but in the third round, it was Mayfield who started to close the distance plus he landed a big right hand.
During opening minute of the sixth round, Mayfield pushed the fight to the rope but Dulorme got the better of exchange. Throughout rest of the round, Mayfield push the action but failed to deliver any major punches.
Mayfield got nailed with two low blows in the eighth round but Dulorme escaped with no deductions and he may have won the round. Dulorme continued to control the real estate in the ninth round as he maneuvered out of harms’ way and Mayfield seemed unable to close the distance consistently not just in the ninth round but most of the previous eight rounds.
Dulorme won the decision in what was an ugly fight with neither fighter impressing as Dulorme averaged 8 punches per round compared to Mayfield 6 punches per round. Hardly a fight that would be called a resume enhancer but for Dulorme, a win is a win.
Cedric Agnew found himself in his first big exposure and much of his opponents were non-descript, thus many pundits gave him very little chance. In the opening minutes, Agnew had his hands up and played defense while occasionally popping out combinations as Kovalev threw a few combinations but did not really connect with anything. Agnew did deliver a low blow that sent Kovalev down and the referee gave Kovalev a chance to recover.
Agnew continued to fight defensive whereas Kovalev moved forward but by the end of the second round, Kovalev power started to take hold and nailed Agnew with a left hook that sent the Chicago fighter down for an eight count.
Kovalev continued to pound Agnew and while Agnew managed to connect on a few solid shots of his own; Kovalev nailed Agnew with solid power shots. A head butt in the fourth round opened a cut over Kovalev right eye and Kovalev now was fighting with blood flowing on the right side of his face. Agnew strategy was to get the fight into the middle rounds as Kovalev seemed to breathing heavy but Agnew had yet to hurt the Russian over the first five rounds,.
In the opening moments of the sixth round, Agnew went down from Kovalev combinations and after Agnew got back up, Kovalev went on the attack. Kovalev ripped body shots after body shots throughout the round. Agnew weakened under the assault and this lead to his demise in the seventh round as Kovalev nailed Agnew with a jab to the midsection that sent Agnew down for the final count. Kovalev was impressive as he dominated every round and broke down the defensive minded Agnew.
Kovalev showed that he is one of the best light heavyweights and worthy of a bigger fight with one of the light heavyweight elites like Hopkins and Stevenson.