By Jason Pribila at Ringside: Eleider Alvarez shocked a raucous crowd in Atlantic City by knocking Sergey Kovalev down three times in the seventh round, stopping “The Krusher” and becoming the new WBO light heavywieght champion on Saturday evening at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Alvarez had success early landing a stiff jab and keeping Kovalev off balance during the opening rounds.
Kovalev began landing power punches to Alvarez’s body, and soon began landing power punches in a huge round four. Alvarez absorbed Kovalev’s biggest punches and may have taken the mental edge by the fact that he was still standing and returning fire in round five.
Kovalev again landed big punches in round six, as a cut was opened below Alvarez’ left eye.
In round seven the light heavyweight division was thrown for a loop when Alvarez landed essentially a one punch knockout. A stunning single right hand to the forehead dropped Kovalev on his backside. Kovalev rose, but a flurry sent him back to the canvas. Kovalev again rose, and after being looked at closely, the action was allowed to continue momentarily.
Alvarez dropped Kovalev for the third and final time, and the bout was waved off.
With the victory Alvarez improved to (24-0, 12 KO) while Kovalev suffered a crushing defeat leaving his record at (32-3-1, 28 KO).
Despite his Olympic background and undefeated record as a professional Alvarez wasn’t given much respect at the betting windows
Alvarez may now face Dmitry Bivol in a unification bout. Bivol defended his title by winning a decision over Isaac Chilembra in the evening’s co-feature.
Kovalev has now lost for the third time in a bout that he was winning early. This defeat will be difficult to recover from, and his reputation of being the division’s biggest puncher was erased by a right hand that landed out of nowhere.
Atlantic City Undercard Report
By Jeff Jowett at ringside: Denis “Momma’s Boy” Douglin, 167 ¼, Marlboro, NJ, 20-6 (12), registered the only undercard upset against a seemingly paralyzed Vaughn Alexander, 166 ½, St. Louis, 12-1 (8), in an interesting while not exciting 10. The contest started slowly, with Douglin the only one fighting. The muscular and menacing Alexander stalked but couldn’t get his punches off while the stocky Douglin took advantage of Vaughn’s ineffective forward motion by popping away. In the third, Alexander looped an arm over Denis’ neck and rode him face down to the canvas. Denis shrugged it off by doing a couple of peppy pushups before bouncing up. In the fifth, Alexander began to show some life and threatened to possibly mount a late charge. But he was still being outscored. He rocked Denis back with one good inside right in the eighth, but Douglin chilled any chance of Alexander pulling it out by redoubling his work rate in the ninth and breezing to the finish. Mark Costantino had a shutout while Lawrence Layton and Allen Rubenstein scored 99-91.
Madiyar Ashkeyev, 153, Merki, Kazakhstan, 10-0 (6), romped over willing but hopeless Eduardo Flores, 153, Quito, Ecuador, 24-30-4 (14), in a scheduled 8. With a longer reach, the Kazakhstani let his hands fly and plastered the Ecuadorian in round one. With seemingly little to fear, Ashkeyev moved a step closer in round two, planting his feet solidly and digging in with combos. He twice sent Flores’ mouthpiece flying. Eduardo had it knocked out again in the third, costing Flores a point, and a counter right rocked him just before the bell. In round four, after losing his mouthpiece for the fourth time while being fought to a standstill, referee Shade Murdaugh decided enough was too much and stopped the debacle, over the loser’s vigorous protest, in 0:50.
Ismael Villarreal, 156 ½, Bronx, 3-0, applied pressure enough to win a unanimous decision from Kieran Hooks, 156 ½, Phila., 3-1-1 (1), in a good opening four before an empty house. The tall and rangy Hooks worked the jab well and dropped in nice rights in a good opening round effort. But in the second, the muscular Villarreal gained an extra step and began to pump both hands to head and body, taking control of the action. By the third, Kieran was giving ground but still hanging in. All scores 39-37.
Southpaw Enriko Gogokhia, 147 ½, Zugdidi, Georgia, 8-0 (3), won a unanimous shutout from reluctant Ronald Montes, 148 ¾, Barranquilla, 18-10 (16), in a tame six. This was strictly a gym workout with Gogokhia setting the pace while the bigger Colombian was content with only token counters.