Sergey Kovalev BoxRec: Aug 2019 rankings in a packed division
On Saturday night, fearsome WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) faces unbeaten contender Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KO).
Although Sergey remains the favorite, some like Yarde's chances because Kovalev has lost 3 of his last 6 and was stopped in two of those fights.
Of course, there's no shame in dropping two contests to Andre Ward, especially since the first could have gone either way or been scored a draw. But, have those losses softened Krusher psychologically? Sure, he won the rematch against Alvarez and looked great adopting a different style but Sergey was more "hit-and-move technician" than "Krusher."
But, if you're looking for reasons Yarde will be no match for Sergey, you don't have to look far. The champion was dynamic in regaining his title from Eleider Alvarez in January.
Moreover, Kovalev boasts much, much deeper amateur and pro pedigrees. The challenger had a mere 12 amateur bouts and has yet to face anyone of note as a pro.
Are you sure you want this fight right now, Anthony?
So, how do these fighters stack-up in BoxRec, boxing's official records keeper?
Heading into Kovalev vs Yarde, Sergey is rated by BoxRec as it's top light heavyweight, and that ranking is fairly comfortable for now.
He's followed by Oleksandr Gvozdyk (WBC Champion 17-0, 14 KO), Dmitry Bivol (WBA Champion) 16-0, 11 KO, Eleider Alvarez (24-1, 12 KO) and Gilberto Ramirez (former WBO Super Middleweight Champion 40-0, 26 KO).
Menacing IBF Champion Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KO) is all the way down at No. 11 while Kovalev's opponent, Anthony Yarde, sits at No. 13 of 1,103 active fighters in the division.
Perhaps the most revealing BoxRec light heavyweight stat is 5 of its top 12 fighters are Russian.
And as you can see, there's a considerable drop in points after the top 3.
Criticism: Beterbiev should easily be in the top 5. In fact, I think he's the best light heavyweight in the world. However, he's not in the BoxRec top 10 because he's an avoided fighter and has yet to face an elite-level foe yet.
BoxRec's algorithm is good, and the system should be respected. However, it's not flawless. Moreover, it computes stats and can't actually watch the fighters ply their trade.
Should Kovalev be upset by Yarde, the latter would likely bolt into the top 3 with Gvozdyk narrowly at the top spot.
Of course, there is no lineal light heavyweight champion. It's most recent RING Magazine (or lineal champion) was Andre Ward who retired in September 2017.
And incidentally, RING's top light heavyweight is Gvozdyk while Kovalev is second. Beterbiev is No. 4.
This division is red hot.