If Sergey Kovalev is bowing under the pressure from his out-of-the-ring shenanigans, he had not made it apparent during his training camp, according to his head trainer Buddy McGirt.
McGirt says that the former light heavyweight had been noticeably upbeat as he prepared for his crossroads clash – which would have been his first fight in 14 months – against rising Uzbek prospect Bektemir Melikuziev.
The fight had been scheduled for January 30 in Los Angeles - and recently canceled after Kovalev came up positive for synthetic testosterone in a doping test issued by VADA.
Kovalev's handlers have denied that he knowingly ingested any illegal substances. They have made a request for the B-sample to be analyzed.
"I work with Sergei, we were in the process of preparation. We saw each other recently, he did not say anything to me. I am not aware of the positive doping test," McGirt said to tass.
Kovalev, 37, was last seen in the ring getting folded by Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 2, 2019. Since that time Kovalev has spent more time generating headlines for TMZ thanks to a heap of out-of-the-ring scandals, including a sexual assault case, DUI, alleged altercation with a woman on a plane, among others.
In his most recent kerfuffle, Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) was reportedly caught illegally streaming the DAZN broadcast of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith super middleweight title fight on his Instagram Live. The Athletic reported that DAZN, which is showcasing Kovalev’s next fight against Melikuziev, is mulling legal action.
McGirt says they had been training together for a month and that his charge’s extracurricular troubles have not been a topic of conversation.
“I don’t know anything about them (the legal troubles),” McGirt admitted to BoxingScene.com. “He won’t even talk about them. He doesn’t bring it up and I don’t bring it up. We’re just training and cracking jokes.”
Although Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) is a career super middleweight, McGirt viewed the contest as being very dangerous.
“The kid is dangerous. He has knock out written all over him.” McGirt said of Melikuziev.
McGirt is not worried about Kovalev becoming irrelevant, as he believes his charge is still the subject of much intrigue.
“The key is this: you worry about them when they stop talking about you,” McGirt said. “As long as they’re talking about you, you will be alright. He’s well-rested and in his mind and heart he has something to prove."