Who’s the Bigger Puncher? Superman or Krusher?
The light heavyweight division currently hosts two of the sport’s biggest pound-for-pound punchers in the form of WBC ruler Adonis Stevenson and WBO boss Sergey Kovalev. After each man scored an impressive stoppage win in their HBO doubleheader from Quebec City last weekend, the stage is set for these two to square off in 2014. It also makes the question of just which of the two bangers is the biggest puncher a particularly relevant one as a Stevenson vs. Kovalev clash moves closer to reality.
In terms of sheer power, Kovalev is the man. He is a heavy-handed guy, the type of puncher who hurts his opponents with every shot, wherever that shot may land. However, unlike many fighters of that type, Kovalev isn’t a slow, thudding puncher. The “Krusher” has pretty fast hands, and his punches are explosive. When you run down his record, the thing that stands out is that few of his knockout victims got past the 4th round.
While Stevenson isn’t a bigger puncher than Kovalev in terms of sheer power, he might be a better puncher in terms of applying that power. Whereas Kovalev’s style is that of the pure banger, Stevenson is a knockout artist. “Superman’s” style uses his southpaw stance as the foundation for a technically sound approach to opening an opponent up for high impact shots on either the short or the long arc.
Simply put, Stevenson is the more flexible of the two, whereas Kovalev strikes me as a fighter with only one real game plan. He has a super-aggressive style which he uses to come in and bludgeon his opponents. Stevenson, on the other hand, works off the counter punch and sets his shots up more. And while Kovalev is no slouch speed-wise, Stevenson is clearly the superior athlete and has the faster hands — and as we know, speed also equals power.
So it might just prove that while Kovalev is the more powerful puncher, Stevenson is actually the overall better puncher. Yet this issue of which man is the bigger banger only matters against the rest of the light heavyweight division. Against each other, what really counts is boxing’s classic axiom: in a battle of two punchers, it’s the guy who catches best that wins. Considering that Stevenson has been kayoed once in his career, against dangerous journeyman Darnell Boone, and his team has shown what appears to be some hesitancy in facing Kovalev, that may not bode well for him in this match.