Photos: Will Hart
By Frank Della Femina
When Blake Caparello stepped on to the scale Friday afternoon at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, it was easy to imagine the digital read-out render the word, "Why?" instead of his weight of 174 pounds. After all, not many people are willing to enter the ring across from a man as feared as Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev.
Lately, Kovalev's opponents have been coming in as heavy underdogs. His previous challenger, Cedric Agnew, hit the canvas three times on the way to a 7th round KO this past March. He did manage to leave Kovalev with a not-so-friendly reminder that not every win will come void of pain – or in this particular case, a few stitches above the eye.
But as HBO's June match-up between Ruslan Provodnikov and Chris Algieri showed, anything can happen in a boxing ring, which is why Caparello is so confident in his chances of pulling off an upset.
"I believe in my ability. I know I can beat him," said the Aussie southpaw. "If I wasn't confident I wouldn't have taken the fight. I'm confident. My team is confident and [promoter] Lou DiBella is confident. That's why we took the fight."
For all the animosity that often builds during fight week, Kovalev and Caparello seem to have taken a "save it for the ring" approach. Neither has been so bold as to take proverbial jabs at the other, nor has there been anything less than a few smiles exchanged, starting with Thursday's press conference (sarcastic as they may have been).
"I'm coming to America to beat Sergey Kovalev," Caparello boasted from the podium Thursday afternoon. "I'm confident in my abilities and I'm ready to be a champion."
Moments later Kovalev responded simply, "I want to just get in the ring and get my next win this Saturday."
Simple and to the point. Perhaps even a direct reflection of Kovalev's natural ease with which he approaches an opponent; never asking whom he's facing, only when the fight will happen, and at what weight he needs to be.
Like Agnew before him, Caparello enters the contest undefeated. However, all but one of those 19 wins came in Australia. If the Russian can add to the right side of his professional record of 24-0-1 (22 KOs) Saturday night, he could face a fighter—Bernard Hopkins—with much greater name recognition soon after.
Official Weights from Atlantic City
Sergey Kovalev: 174 pounds
Blake Caparello: 174 pounds