WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev, who yesterday signed a contract to face ageless Bernard Hopkins in the fall, retained his title Saturday night by annihilating Blake Caparello in round two at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Kovalev, defending his belt for the third time, stalked the crafty Caparello in the opening stanza. Caparello, a southpaw, tried to keep his distance by sticking out his right hand.
Near the two minute mark of the round, as Kovalev posed, Caparello let go with a straight left hand that floored the off-balance champion.
Rising from the flash knockdown, Kovalev looked more surprised than hurt. He stung Caparello with a long left hook at the bell.
Did the knockdown wake up Kovalev? Maybe. He came out with more intensity in round two.
After ducking a one-two, Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) connected with a wicked right hand to the liver that forced Caparello (19-1, 6 KOs) to take a knee. Grimacing, he rose at the count of eight.
Kovealev landed another right and went back to the body. Caparello took a knee after the second right hand landed.
The courageous fighter pulled himself up, but it was obvious the fight was over. Kovalev waved his right hand bolo style and let go with a barrage of punches--causing the third knockdown.
The referee waved off the contest at 1:47 of round two.
“I wanted to punch his liver,” said Kovalov after the fight. “He fell and it was over. I finished the job.”
Rios - winner by disqualification:
Facing career oblivion, former lightweight champion Brandon Rios was declared the winner by disqualification over Diego Chaves in round nine at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As expected, the fight was a give-and-take affair from the opening round. Chaves, from Argentina, refused to back down. He stood toe-to-toe and exchanged shots. It seemed that he couldn’t miss with his right uppercut.
Rios countered back with a hooks to the body and head.
Chaves landed a sharp left hook in round two. Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) worked behind a sturdy jab. Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs) connected with a lead right that brought a smile to the face of Rios. A few seconds later, Rios caught Chaves with a long left hook.
Referee Vic Drakulich stopped the action and took a point a way from Chaves for holding. The decision looked premature, but set the tone for what would occur later in the match.
Chaves continued to have success from the outside. Rios did better on the inside. Drucklitch deducted a point from Rios for throwing Chaves to the canvas.
Rios picked up the pace in round six. Chaves landed three powerful right hands, one seemed to hurt Rios.
Chaves continued to be busier in the next stanza. Rios punched back with authority. Chaves nailed Rios with an uppercut, causing Rios, who resides in Oxnard, CA. to smile and shake his head.
In round eight, Chaves was deducted another point for rubbing his glove across the face of Rios.
Both fighters hit the canvas in round nine, and a few seconds later, as they wrestled along the ropes, Drakulich disqualified Chaves apparently for holding.
“He grabbed me by my head and stuck his thumb in my eye,” said Rios after the fight. “This is not the way I wanted to win. Don’t fight dirty. I wasn’t happy with the way the fight went.”
“I don’t know what I did,” said Chaves. “It was a dirty fight. He made it dirty.”
At the time of the stoppage, Chaves was ahead 75-74 on two cards while Rios was up a single point on the third.