Well, this definitely wasn’t on my 2022 bingo card.
Both Mike Coppinger and Keith Idec report that former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and unbeaten Meng Fanlong are “finalizing” a deal to meet atop a March 12th Triller Fight Club card in Los Angeles. Despite both men spending their careers at 175 pounds, they’ll fight at a 185-pound catchweight, presumably as part of “The Krusher’s” long-brewing move to cruiserweight.
Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KO) was almost unquestionably the greatest light heavyweight of his era, a monstrous puncher with a great gas tank and deceptive craft behind his volleys. This Kovalev, now 38, is an ongoing implosion; for convenience’s sake, I’ll just copy-paste the list of bullets in his foot that I put together when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone, scrapping a planned clash with Bektemir Melikuziev.
Since falling to Andre Ward by controversial decision in their first meeting and brutal TKO in their second, he’s suffered one self-inflicted wound after another, from pleading guilty to punching a woman who rebuffed his advances and kicking her dog to getting arrested for DUI to getting kicked off a plane for sexual harassment, to getting in hot water with DAZN for hosting an illegal Canelo-Smith stream.
Meng’s (17-0, 10 KO) misfortunes, on the other hand, were entirely outside of his control. His doomed 2020 title shot against Artur Beterbiev was one of the first COVID casualties, and with both travel bans and visa issues constantly cropping up, his opportunities have been limited. He’s managed just one fight since 2019, a decision over Israel Duffus last October.
The ideal outcome would be Meng flattening Kovalev and moving on to a meaningful fight, but ideal outcomes are hard to come by in this sport. Fingers crossed.