Surprised there has been very little discussion about this bout.
I think it's an intriguing fight. For a long time I was unsure about Yarde, just wondered was he all flash and no substance, but bit by bit he has won me over. Of course, his opposition has not exactly been top class, but it's been reasonably good for someone so inexperienced. Having said that, I was sure he was going to be waiting at least another year before challenging for top honours in a talent-laden division.
But that's the bit that has caught my attention. Frank Warren is his promoter and like him or loathe him, he has a very good record of timing his fighters' runs and catching an aging champion just at the right time. Obviously he has spotted something, especially with the fight being in Russia.
For me it all boils down to two things. Jab and chin. Kovalev's jab is probably the best in boxing, even someone as good as Andre Ward struggled with it, so is Yarde experienced enough to work around it on a consistent basis? If he is then he has a huge chance.
Then there's the question over Yarde's chin. Kovalev can really bang and we just don't know yet whether Yarde can take big punches. He looks a very solid unit, but that doesn't necessarily say much. His trainer has unusual training methods and doesn't believe in much sparring. Whatever about the rights and wrongs of that, sparring definitely toughens you up and conditions the body for punishment, so if Yarde is taking regular shots from a big puncher with underrated skills, how will he stand up to it?
I can see a lot of different scenarios in this fight, but I suppose the sensible prediction would be a Kovalev points win or late stoppage, but I certainly would not be surprised with a Yarde win.