Anthony Yarde came within touching distance of becoming the WBO light heavyweight world champion on Saturday night in Russia when he had Sergey Kovalev reeling.
The champion had successfully jabbed his way to a commanding position in the fight before Yarde rocked him in the eighth round and did everything in is power to knock him out.
Somehow, Kovalev survived and would come out the next few rounds with his second wind firmly behind him. Unfortunately, Yarde was spent.
Speaking in the BT Sport studio, former two-weight world champion David Haye said Yarde needed to have the physical tools to show that intensity at points in every round to become the very best – but he did show signs he can get there.
“I think he’ll review that fight and he’ll realise that in the eighth round where he had the most success, he needs to train like he fought in that round,” Haye started. “The intensity that he was punching… it was there, it was clearly in him. He just needs to be able to do that for a minute of every round. That intensity that he fought then, he needs to be able to do that for a minute every round.
“What he was doing in the first few rounds with Kovalev was good enough to beat the calibre of opponents that he was fighting up until this point. Now he realises that’s not enough. ‘What I did in the eighth round is more what I need to do’. Give me a minute of that intensity for a minute of every round for 12 rounds and I’ll show you a world champion.”
Haye knows a thing or two about what it takes to become a world champion and Yarde proved he had many of the tools previously doubted prior to his clash with Kovalev.
His chin was solid throughout the bout, he fearlessly traded and had the power to trouble the very best. Only exhaustion and experience got the better of him and he can correct both.