When you as a fan ponder the Sergey Kovalev versus Canelo Alvarez face-off Nov. 2, do you first things first run it through the filter of of the adage “A good big man beats a good little man?”
I'm hearing that axiom regularly, as I traffic in that jump to light heavyweight challenge for the Mexican standout…amd I'm wondering, how does Kovalev's trainer see it? Does Buddy McGirt, the Hall of Fame hitter from Brentwood, Long Island, NY, think of that supposed truism?
“No,” McGirt (below, in picture from his Instagram page) told me on a Monday phoner. “Hearns lost to Ray Leonard and Hagler lost to Leonard, so I'm not going by that. Sergey has to be smarter and better.” Don't forget 2, either, McGirt noted.
The tutor, who saw his guy handle his business in Russia, stopping Anthony Yarde on August 24th, first heard about a Canelo challenge being possibe about four months ago. Then, and now, he saw it the same: “I thought it was a good fight for boxing.”
And since it was announced, is he seeing it differently at all? “A lot of people are thinking this is an easy fight for Canelo, I beg to differ! Then and now, it's not about bigger and stronger, it's about “better” and “smarter,” man. That's the plan.”
More about “the plan”….
Camp started last week, and the desire is to get Kovalev back to fighting shape quick, which won't be hard, the trainer says, and then not overdo it. “Then we work on keeping more mentally and tactically prepared,” he said.
So..as for what the other guy will bring to the table in Las Vegas Nov. 2, McGirt is thinking that the Golden Boy boxer will look to retain some facets that have got him to this point. “I don't think Canelo will be one pound over 168,” he said. McGirt will expect the trap setter, the smart boxer, and no, he doesn't have to pore over video tape (footage) to discern and dissect the coming up from middleweight pugilist. “He can do something different every fight, and he might not do any of what he's done before. Plus, Canelo is fighting a totally different guy!”
I put it to McGirt directly…Does he think this is a coinflip fight? 50-50? “I have all the faith in the world in my guy. I'm not the guy that says, ‘We're gonna win by KO,' but we're gonna win the fight and beat Canelo,” the trainer stated.
Anyone thinking maybe they saw hints in the Yarde fight that indicate Canelo has the edge and will snag Kovalev's WBO 175 crown in this scrap, to screen on DAZN, know this. McGirt understands why Yarde saw an uptick in round eight.
“Sergey got lazy, he was beating Yarde with the jab, Yarde got braver, and in that situation, you gotta sometimes regain the momentum. You saw Kovalev, after a round or two, he came back, took control. You gotta understand, Sergey's boxing IQ, he's a very smart man, sometimes he does shit in the gym, I'm like, ‘Whoah.' He does thing he'snever had a chance to do in fights, because he was always knocking people out. I will say, ‘What the hell was that?' And he'll show me, and it'll make sense.”
Reading between those lines, I asked, So, Canelo being such a top tier pugilist, his excellence will provoke Kovalev into showing some things he's not yet trotted out? “And then some,” McGirt aswered. Kovalev, he admitted, will need to be his A plus self to get the win in Vegas, on the card promoted by Golden Boy and Main Events.
And also…We tend to think a good younger man will beat that good older man, oftentimes, right? Has Buddy seen any dropoffs, anything to make him worry that the 36 years old (37 in April) Russian has lost a step and will have to worry that Canelo at 29 (30 in July) will have youth on his side, and that will prove to be a severe difference-maker?
“Listen, every great warrior has that moment, when they decide, ‘I'm gonna give the world something to remember me by!' This is the fight,” McGirt declared, “Sergey can do that!”