For the relatively unknown light heavyweight Igor Mikhalkin, Saturday night’s clash with WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev at Madison Square Garden, live on HBO, is a dream scenario.
“Obviously, it’s a dream of every boxer to fight in the main event, Madison Square Garden. It’s obviously a dream fight for me. It’s very important for me. I’m very excited about it. And I’m not only fighting the main fight on the main card, I’m also fighting the main fighter in the light heavyweight division, so I’m going to write the perfect script on (Saturday) and, hopefully, I’m victorious.”
Mikahlkin (21-1, 9 KO) admits he’s not a puncher, and that he’s likely going to have to pull the upset over the course of 12 rounds:
”I’m going for points. I’m going for doing a good job boxing. I never was a puncher, so I never necessarily aim for a knockout. I conditioned to fight all 12 rounds, and I enjoy fighting all 12 rounds, so I’m going to go and fight technically and see how it goes.”
The 32-year-old Mikhalkin, who has held the lightly regarded IBO title, is a massive underdog, but he at least sounds like he’s being realistic, right? If he’s going to beat Kovalev, he’s surely not going to stop him, save for a perfect miracle punch or something. He’s going to have to outbox him.
Whether or not he can do it is another question. Kovalev is the bigger puncher, obviously, but is also a very good boxer. Even if he does his very best, there might not be much Mikhalkin can do.