Could Yarde Do a Honeyghan?
Lloyd Honeyghan was unbeaten, but virtually written off when he challenged Donald Curry for the undisputed world welterweight title in 1986.
Honeyghan of course went on to shock the apparent heir to Sugar Ray Leonard, in a largely one-sided fight and we witnessed one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.
Tonight Anthony Yarde faces a similar test, a seemingly insurmountable mountain he has to climb. Yarde like Honeyghan is unbeaten but takes on a much more experienced fighter and still a feared one, despite the obvious signs that he is fading from what he once was, in the reigning WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
While Kovalev doesn’t have anywhere near the reputation Curry did in 1986, for me the one thing that is the same, at least potentially, is the timing.
As good as Honeyghan was that night in Atlantic City, he caught Curry at the right time, and I wonder if Yarde is catching Kovalev at just the right moment.
Curry was dead at the weight, and Kovalev is perceived as being on the slide, at 36 are his best days over. Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez have ripped open the cracks in recent times, the signs are there both inside and outside of the ring.
Kovalev has a potential fight with Canelo Alvarez down the road should he win, but will he get that far. Curry also had big plans waiting for him, a showdown with Marvelous Marvin Hagler was seriously being discussed, Honeyghan ruined all those plans, could Yarde do the same.
Yarde has been dismissed by many as nothing but a hype job, and a protected one at that. But he deserves credit for diving in so deep in his first real test. But there is a world of difference between the level he’s been operating at, to what he’s signed up for against Kovalev.
But one check of the odds for the fight seem to indicate its far from mission impossible, certainly not the task Honeyghan faced all those years ago, at least on paper.
Kovalev is the odds on favourite as you would reasonably expect him to be, but Yarde is a very low 6-4 in places, do the bookies know something we don’t.
It would be a very brave punter to put his money on the British fighter leaving Russia a world champion, but timing is everything in sport, and I can’t decide if this is genius matchmaking or incredibly premature, stupid even.
We still don’t know how good Yarde really is, 18 fights in and we have learnt precious little. Yarde might regret taking this fight so early, and ultimately that greater experience at this level will probably be the deciding factor.
But if Kovalev has slipped enough, Yarde could very well be in the right place at the right time.