Home News HBO Boxing preview: Kovalev vs. Mohammedi, Pascal vs. Gonzalez

HBO Boxing preview: Kovalev vs. Mohammedi, Pascal vs. Gonzalez

Credit: David Spagnolo / Main Events

Light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev, who has been collecting title belts the past two years, makes his Las Vegas debut with the HBO Boxing Sergey Kovalev vs. Nadjib Mohammedi event, which includes a co-feature of Jean Pascal vs. Yuniesky Gonzalez, this Saturday at 10pm from the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

In the main event, undefeated Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) of Kopeysk, Russia, now living and training in Los Angeles, defends his crown against intriguing mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) from France in a 12-round bout. The fast-rising, hard-hitting Kovalev has taken the 175-pound division by storm with a sizzling knockout ratio and a willingness to battle top-tier fighters, even when his opponent has a decided home crowd advantage.

In the past two years, he’s decisively beaten Nathan Cleverly, Cedric Agnew, ring legend Bernard Hopkins and Canadian superstar Jean Pascal. One of the sport’s top attractions, thanks to his fan-friendly style, Kovalev enjoyed a banner year in 2014, earning Fighter of the Year honors from a host of boxing news organizations. This bout marks his seventh HBO appearance.

In his U.S. debut last November, Mohammedi scored a stunning first-round knockout of Demetrius Walker on the undercard of Kovalev-Hopkins. He will train for his HBO debut against Kovalev at Big Bear Lake in California.

The opening bout features former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) of Quebec, Canada, and undefeated Cuban-born Yuniesky Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs) from Miami, Florida in a 175-pound contest scheduled for ten rounds. Pascal, who previously lost by TKO to Kovalev, wants another shot at the light heavyweight title, and defeating Gonzalez should bring him that opportunity. This fight marks Pascal’s first bout outside his home country since 2008 and his fifth HBO appearance.

Gonzalez, who had a successful amateur career in Cuba, aims to disrupt Pascal’s plans with his knockout power, which has stopped his last three opponents before the end of the third round. He’ll be making his HBO debut.