WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev 33-3-1 (28) has revealed he was offered a fight with world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 52-1-2 (35) but knocked it back to face undefeated Brit Anthony Yarde 18-0 (17) instead.
The 36-year-old Russian said he knocked back the offer to fight the Mexican superstar because arrangements were already in place to defend his title against Yarde at Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia this Saturday night.
“Yes, we did have an offer but we can talk about that after Saturday night,” Kovalev said. “I have to say that the tickets were already on sale. Official agreements were already made. It was just three weeks before the 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. Everything was already agreed. My primary task is to defend the title. If the fight will still be very interesting for Canelo, OK.”
WBC and WBA middleweight champion Alvarez, 29, was expected to fight in on the Mexican Independence Day weekend in September but that fight was scrapped when a suitable opponent couldn’t be found.
Before a proposed Kovalev-Alvarez fight can be made the Russian banger will have to get past the big-hitting Yarde.
“I understand Anthony Yarde’s ambitions,” Kovalev continued. “He calls himself a lion but to me he is a cub. He is so young. I will have to get rid of all that baby fur off his skin so he will run away back home. It is clear he comes here and he wants to be like that. I have this experience. Now is my time.”
Yarde, 28, is confident he has what it takes to defeat Kovalev.
“I’m just going to literally go in the ring and be myself. I’m going to focus on myself, be the best that I can be and get the knockout victory because that’s what I feel like I need to do to win the fight,” Yarde said.
“I don’t know which round. I’m not a psychic… but that’s my plan. In boxing you can’t predict rounds. I’ve just got to go in there with a goal in my head and produce.”
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