Alvarez wins WBO light heavyweight title.
Size might matter in some things, but not always in boxing.
In a close fight, the much smaller Canelo Alvarez became the sixth middleweight in history to capture a light heavyweight championship title by explosively knocking out Sergey Kovalev in round 11 before a rocking crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Saturday night.
The fight was more tactical than terrific. Kovalev used his jab to keep Alvarez at bay, but the middleweight champion put constant pressure on the now former light heavyweight titleholder.
Kovalev was busier throughout, but Alvarez (53-1-2, 40 KOs) worked the body. His shots to the rib cage were consistent. One such blow almost doubled over Kovalev. Alvarez’s edge in speed was also apparent throughout the bout as was Kovalev’s volume punching.
The routine was set, Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) would score a few points, but Alvarez would land the harder shots.
The fight was close on this writer’s scorecard heading into round 11. Ringside judges Julie Lederman and Dave Moretti both had Alvarez ahead, 96-94, while Judge Don Trella had it even. Maxboxing concured with Lederman and Moretti.
In the end, it wouldn’t matter.
Alvarez trainer Eddy Reynoso whispered encouragement before the stanza began. Alvarez came out with purpose, strafing Kovalev with heavy hooks. Kovalev moved and kept jabbing, but Alvarez had found the range.
A huge left hook from Alvarez’s dressing room wobbled Kovalev—rendering him helpless along the ropes. Alvarez fired the coup de grâce - a wicked right hand that collapsed Kovalev and sent him to dreamland.
The sudden end came at 2:15 seconds.
“Thank you very much,” said Alvarez in the ring. “It’s just a step in my career. The plan was patience. That was basically it, to have patience. We knew that it was gonna be five or six rounds, and that it was gonna take some time for me to get him. But obviously, he’s a great fighter."
Kovalev, seemingly OK after the brutal knockout was circumspect after his loss.
“It’s a good experience for me," Kovalev said."Canelo is really a great champion. And a little bit right now, I didn’t recover from my last fight.Thanks for [the] fight. Canelo, big respect with him."
Alvarez, who now has won titles in four weight divisions, said he’d consider fighting at light heavyweight again. A third fight with Gennady Golovkin beckons. Kovalev faces a murky future, as legal issues await.