Canelo v Kovalev is Official
Well the waiting and speculation is over! Current WBA middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KO’s) has officially announced that he is going to face WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KO’s) on November 2. The bout will take place at the MGM Grand located in Las Vegas.
Although just formally announced, the boxing world has been waiting on this fight for a little over a month. Word of this unexpected bout first came to light when Kovalev was finalizing his mandatory title defense against Anthony Yarde. This is when Canelo initially shocked the world by calling the light heavyweight champion out. Prior to the call out, no one had theorized or dreamed of a bout between these two individuals. Yet, after the potential prizefight was injected in the public’s imagination it seemed like it was only a matter of time before it was legitimized.
The boxing community recognizes Canelo as the resident ‘cash cow’. However, Team Alvarez would initially opt to send over what Team Kovalev deemed to be a lowball offer. Not impressed, the Krusher went on to tangle with, and ultimately knockout, Anthony Yarde in a rather exciting dust-up. After that fight, Alvarez and his Golden Boy Promotions think-tank immediately resumed working on the rather odd prizefight. Obviously, the teams were able to resolve all the financial kinks.
BIG RISK, BIG REWARDS
This bout is being viewed by many boxing fans from two extremes. On the one hand, Canelo is daring to be great by jumping up two weight divisions to face-off with a notoriously devastating puncher. If victorious Alvarez will become a 4-division world champion. This would go down as one amazing feat.
On the other hand, Canelo is fighting Kovalev instead of unifying his own middleweight division, which he himself said this year was an important goal of his. For many, the unnecessary bout with Kovalev, a thrice-beaten fighter, doesn’t trump a prizefight with divisional rivals Jermall “Hit Man” Charlo (29-0, 21 KO’s) or Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (28-0, 17 KO’s). Charlo is the current WBC middleweight champion, while Andrade is WBO middleweight champion. Both are undefeated. Even more incriminating, Boo Boo has actively pursuing a bout with Alvarez for quite a few years.
While on the subject of fighters Alvarez could have fought, at super middleweight there is WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KO’s), WBA champion Callum “Mundo” Smith (26-0, 19 KO’s), IBF champion Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (19-0, 11 KO’s). There is also the winner of Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KO’s) versus David “Red Flag” Benavidez (21-0, 18 KO’s) who walk away the WBC super-middleweight champion. Outside of Dirrell, all of these fighters are undefeated.
Even at light heavyweight, there is WBC champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KO’s), WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KO’s) and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KO’s). Again, all of these men are undefeated. This is why many view Alvarez as ‘daring to be great’ with the clearest weakest link across three divisions. There is more than a grain of truth to this sentiment. There was also an open concern that Alvarez would try to leverage Kovalev into a weight stipulation. This is a tactic Canelo is infamous for. Although, at this point, this does not appear to be the case.
All in all this is still a dangerous fight for Alvarez and one that you can’t just assume that he’ll win, even though he will surely be the betting favorite.
By: Bakari Simpson