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Sergey Kovalev talks Ward, Chilemba, Golovkin, and more

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Sergey Kovalev announced his July 11 fight with Isaac Chilemba yesterday, and spoke with the press about that and other topics.

On returning to Russia for a world title fight

"I've wanted this for a long time, since I won my first belt. But we didn't, because we didn't have the opportunity to do it. Right now, the opportunity came, and we're using it. I'll stay in Russia after the fight, in the summertime, spend time with my family and friends. It's a very good opportunity to do this fight here and prepare for the November fight against Andre Ward."

On not looking past Chilemba and to Ward

"All my fights, for me, they're the same. If you take a loss, it's not good. It doesn't matter who your opponent is. My goal is to get the victory. My next opponent is Chilemba, and I must get the victory for the next possible fight against Andre Ward. Then I must get the victory over Andre Ward for the next big fight. Everything's connected. If you lose one fight, everything won't work. You have to start again, almost from the bottom."

On watching Ward up close in March

"I don't care. I was just having a nice time. It was interesting, what happened in the ring. I watched how he was moving, how he was getting his hands up, whether he was going forward or back. I don't watch video on my opponents. Just a couple rounds, to understand the style. That's it. Because boxing for me is like a street fight but with the rules of boxing."

On what he thought of Ward in March

"I wanted something more from Andre Ward. But I understand he didn't fight for ten months. I'm sure that the next fight, he will fight much better. Sullivan Barrera is not an easy opponent, either. He's a contender. It was interesting, and I'm sure next fight Andre Ward will be more exciting."

On Chilemba's style

"Chilemba is a spoiler. He uses a lot of defense and a lot of wrestling. It's my goal to figure out that problem. What I see against Chilemba, it's not an easy fight. I think it could go all 12 rounds. He's difficult. He's not fighting -- he moves and waits. He's more of a defensive fighter."

On choosing Chilemba to prepare for Ward

"Some things Chilemba does -- he's a spoiler. More defensive. My goal is to aim for the target, his head and his body. Throw my punches and get to the target. It's one step to prepare for Andre Ward."

On taking the belts back to Russia

"The Russian people already saw my belts, yeah. But not in the ring. Just on the table. Or on me. I wanna show and bring my belts to the ring, to give a gift to the Russian fans who love boxing. I've had an invitation for a while, but, OK, how much? But right now we got a good offer, and we're ready."

On where he'll train for the fight

"I'm going to prepare over there. We're going to Russia on May 2nd, and we're going to stay there, because the time zone change is not good for the body. Train somewhere in high altitude, maybe. I don't know. Maybe in Moscow. I need to go to Russia. I have a week to figure it out. I've got a lot of offers already."

On fighting after a big Russian soccer event

"If the Russian team gets to the final (the day before the fight), I will support them, but I don't believe it. (Why not?) Because it's Russian soccer."

On leaving Russia to live in the United States

"It was not an easy step for me. ... I had nothing. One small apartment and one old car. ... I could have returned with nothing lost, but I wanted to try it. From when I was a kid, I dreamed of seeing the American life. Seeing these buildings, school buses, you know? What I saw on the movies. I couldn't believe it. ... We didn't see good things in my neighborhood."

On inviting Putin

"I would, but I cannot do it. It's not possible. I can say, sure, but maybe -- to get his attention. But maybe he'll be there. A lot of prime ministers will be there."

On fighting in Russia for the first time since the tragic death of Roman Simakov

"Stop, stop, stop. ... I already forgot everything, you know? Life is good. We're going to do our job. And make great fights in boxing."

On whether he'll move up in weight eventually

"I don't have the goal to move down or up in weight. There are enough good fighters in my division. Chilemba, then hopefully Andre Ward. There are a lot of opponents in the light heavyweight division. And I'm small for cruiserweight. Those guys, they lose weight for the fight, like 15-20 pounds. Some more. I'm small. I feel comfortable in my division. I don't see any reason to change my division right now."

On if he'd ever fight Golovkin

"At light heavyweight? It's a stupid question. Why not Mayweather? Why aren't you asking about Mayweather? Golovkin is a great fighter. He's my friend. If life makes that fight, I'm ready for it. Sure. It's a sport. For me, it's a sport, not a business. But I love to get money from my job."

On catchweights

"What should I do, cut my hand off? I'm going to be uncomfortable, for what? Just to make money and get a loss? At light heavyweight, I feel good. I have speed, movements, my skill is good. But losing more weight, I don't know. I haven't tried it and I don't want to. It's very dangerous for my body. I can make maybe 154, maybe. I don't know. But I'm not going to try it. I don't want to kill my body."

On Golovkin-Canelo

"I believe Gennady can beat Canelo. These guys are both very dangerous and very talented. One older, one younger. I understand why Canelo's not taking the fight. Everybody understands. Who is not stupid? Wait, wait, wait. How long did we wait for Mayweather-Pacquiao? 70 years? They got good money. Perfect money. Right now it's just speaking, speaking, speaking. When it happens, it'll be a big mega-fight."