Canelo Alvarez gets the stoppage over Sergey Kovalev!
The lead up to the Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev fight had was mired in controversy but not between the two fighters. More so with Kovalev’s legal troubles and the heavily reported issues between Canelo, Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions. The mental state of both fighters was in question before fight night.
Then on fight night, more controversy took place. As lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia dismantled his foe in the first round of the co-main event, fight fans as well as the two starring in the main event were forced to wait almost an hour beyond their scheduled ring walks. The delay was because a UFC main event between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal was taking place.
This was a massive blow to boxing as this insinuated the UFC had taken priority! If the biggest star in boxing had to wait until an unrelated event starring two of that sport’s non-biggest stars was over, what does that say about boxing?
Regardless after the exhausting wait was over, the main event would finally take place!
A Very Slow Pace! A Very Slow Fight!
Depending on what you expected to see when the two met in the ring, you may have been disappointed during the first three quarters of this fight. The two literally displayed minimal action as Kovalev elected to stay on the outside and utilize his two inch reach and four inch height advantage behind the jab. Meanwhile, the smaller Canelo looked to formulate a strategy on how to get close enough to counter the WBO champion.
Honestly, both fighters were using the correct game-plans. Canelo would need to utilize more of his feints to get Kovalev to commit, which would allow him to counter over the top or to sweet spot of the body.
Conversely, the rounds were extremely hard to score. Not because this was such a tactical bout or because there was so much action that both fighters were getting their way. It was because there was so minimal action that if literally one big punch landed by either fighter regardless of whether it did any damage, one would want to give that fighter the round IMMEDIATELY!
By the second half of the fight, Canelo would get to Kovalev’s body a bit more but would suffer running into jabs and straight rights before getting there. Many of the shots from both fighters were caught on the gloves and forearms, however, the more damaging blows would be coming from the middleweight champion.
Catching Fire…A Little
Going into the championship rounds (yes the entire fight up to this point was literally as described above), it seemed this fight would be a war of attrition. Canelo is known to gas late in his fights at junior middleweight and middleweight let alone adding more body mass to make light heavyweight. The WBO champion has been known to gas at this point in his career in the second half of his fights.
At first, it looked as if the WBO champion was the fresher of the two. By round eight, Canelo had his mouth open by the end of the round and Kovalev kept the same pace he started with but was more accurate due to the fatigue of his opponent. This allowed him to arguably take two or three straight rounds heading into fourth quarter of the fight.
An Unexpected Ending
Then what seemed to be a massive loss of fatigue out of nowhere, Kovalev started the eleventh round sluggishly. Canelo, who seemed to have a massive recharge in stamina briefly, was able to bully Kovalev towards the ropes. A shot to the body discombobulated the WBO champion momentarily but that is a wide enough window for an elite fighter like Canelo to exploit a weakness!
A combination to the head that ended with a straight right hand put Kovalev down and almost through the ropes! Just like that, a very dull fight ended with at bang and Canelo would walk away victorious!
It was hard to envision Canelo would have been up on points at the time of the stoppage. Kovalev was dictating the pace of the fight behind his jab while staying on the outside and forced the middleweight champion to make adjustments to get close enough to mount an attack. He had his moments but most of the rounds were too dull to say the aggression of Canelo was effective enough to give him the nod.
3kingsboxing.com had the fight scored 96-94 for Kovalev at the time of the stoppage!
The new WBO light heavyweight and four-division champion was reluctant to say what he would do next! Before the fight, he mentioned that if he had won, he would stay at light heavyweight. However post-fight, due to the mild boos that rang through the MGM Grand arena, he wanted to address that they be patient and witness he make history that he guarantees will continue to happen!
By: EJ Williams