Sergey Kovalev is finally able to get a proper night’s sleep.
The former longtime light heavyweight titleholder from Russia will be making his cruiserweight debut (200 lb limit) this Saturday against Tervel Pulev at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The 10-round bout will be promoted by Triller.
Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs), who has had trouble making weight at 175 for the past couple of years, revealed in a recent interview that the travails of getting into fight shape at light heavyweight were so bad that he had trouble sleeping more than five hours a day during training camp. Kovalev said preparations for Pulev, on the other hand, have been going swimmingly.
“I’m just happy that I’m not hungry, that I’m not stressed,” Kovalev said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “I can sleep right now and [conserve] my energy. No need to lose the weight. When I dropped the weight to 175 in the last two years of [my] boxing career…it was four hours to sleep at night. Just four hours. After morning workout, one-hour nap [afterward].
“Now I’m happy. I have energy, I have motivation. My family is my biggest motivation for me. I don’t want to stop my boxing career after losing. I want to show, by my example, to my son, never give up. I should stop my boxing career with a title.”
Kovalev’s last fight was a title-losing stoppage loss in the 11th round at the hands of Canelo Alvarez in 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Kovalev said going into that fight, he was sapped of all strength.
“I fought with empty energy” Kovalev said. “But I tried. After round number seven I sit down in the corner and said, [trainer] ‘Buddy [McGrit], Buddy, I have no energy.’”
Kovalev also noted that his mental energy was depleted for the Alvarez fight because of the decision by DAZN, which aired the bout, to start the fight only after the conclusion of the UFC pay-per-view card headlined by Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal that took place the same night. The fighters had to wait nearly 90 minutes before making their ring walks.
“I was very uncomfortable before the fight,” Kovalev said. “Even putting gloves on the hands. [I] waited like one hour in the dressing room. Starting to go out to the dressing room to the ring and someone came in the dressing room and said, ‘No, no, no, no [we’re going to wait] for UFC fight.’ We waited for like one hour in the dressing room and I burned all my energy in my mind. [When] I stepped inside the ring, I was already empty of the energy.”