ALL logical thinking before Anthony Yarde dared to challenge WBO light-heavyweight king Sergey Kovalev pointed to the Russian winning in Russia. Kovalev, at 36, might have been older but he was also significantly better and infinitely more experienced.
The logic was indeed crystal clear. Kovalev, once a formidable amateur, was one of the best fighters in professional boxing. One who had been operating at world championship level since 2013. One who had scored one of the most impressive wins of his career in his previous outing. Yarde, in comparison, was a novice. After a mere 30 bouts (18 as a professional and 12 as an amateur) and without any experience in world class whatsoever, the 28-year-old Londoner was not only stepping up but undertaking the kind of jump that nearly always precedes a bad landing.
For Yarde to win, to land on his feet with his arms in the air in celebration, he would have to defy everything that we have been taught about the sport of boxing. All the facts pointed to a punishing victory for Kovalev, particularly in his homeland. Only conjecture and hope, moulded by Team Yarde’s blind faith, could craft any argument to the contrary.
The truth is, if this fight had happened 30 years ago, long before social media and YouTube gave voice to all manner of propaganda, Yarde would not have been given a chance. Not by the bookies who were too kind to the challenger or the educated voices who had been hoodwinked into believing the hype. No, this would have been deemed a mismatch from the outset.