Sergey Kovalev vs Saul Alvarez

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Sergey Kovalev vs Saul Alvarez
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Saturday, November 2, 2019
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Rounds Scheduled: 
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Titles at Stake: 
WBO Light Heavyweight World Title (Kovalev's 2nd defence)


Fan Cards: Sergey Kovalev vs Saul Alvarez

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Champion97's picture


I think Alvarez is the better fighter, Ward beat Kovalev twice, and I think Alvarez is better than Ward.

Alvarez is 29, he is in his prime, is a veteran, been a professional for 14 years, had 55 fights, doesn't have too many miles, so he shouldn't age too badly. Kovalev is 36, took a lot of damage in his last fight, almost stopped, that's at least the 3rd damaging fight he's been in, and he's coming back 2-3 months after the Yarde fight, definitely too soon.

Kovalev's resume is good, beat Pascal twice, Hopkins (albeit a 49 year old), Eleider Alvarez, but Alvarez's resume might be the best in boxing, beat Cotto, Lara, Jacobs, and Golovkin.

Alvarez has been 12 rounds 13 times, Kovalev has been 12 rounds 4 times, Kovalev isn't inexperienced doing 12, but Alvarez is a veteran over the distance, knows how to pace himself, has built his stamina. Alvarez has a granite chin, I don't think he has ever been down, the Golovkin rematch was a war, Canelo had to walk into Golovkin's power in order to get to him, and he did that just fine, Golovkin hit him with his best shots, and the chin held up. Kovalev has vulnerabilities, he tires after 6 rounds, he can't take body shots, his chin is vulnerable, he has been down at least 4 times, been hurt bad, he came apart against Ward and Alvarez, was on the brink of defeat against Yarde, and it always seems to be round 7 or 8 that it all goes wrong for him.

Alvarez is 5'8, average for a 140-147lb fighter, he is stocky, probably a natural 154lb fighter, isn't a small middleweight, has adapted to 160, and size, not an issue against Jacobs or Golovkin the second time, but he's small at 168, he stopped Fielding, but Fielding was static, couldn't block the body shots, wasn't good enough to fight Alvarez, and against Chavez, at 164.5lbs, he was dominant, but didn't have much power. Alvarez is very small at 175, I don't think he can be strong at the weight, he is at a big size disadvantage.

I'm interested to see how Alvarez deals with the size issue, he struggled slightly for strength against Golovkin the first time, I think any good 168lb fighter who isn't small, can overpower him. Kovalev isn't big for 175, Ward says he isn't that strong, but he isn't small, is fairly strong and extremely dangerous at the weight, is a career light heavyweight. Kovalev must be much the physically stronger, should overpower and push back Alvarez no problem, and although Alvarez hits hard and Kovalev is vulnerable, Alvarez won't hit nearly as hard at 175 as at 160.

Alvarez has a great chin, took Golovkin's power, but I believe Kovalev hits harder at 175 than Golovkin hits at 160, and if that's true, then taking Kovalev's power is an even bigger ask than taking Golovkin's power, and if I'm wrong about Kovalev hitting harder than Golovkin, there can't be much in it, and Kovalev is still more dangerous for Alvarez than Golovkin, because of the weight. If Alvarez takes a great right hand from Kovalev on the chin, doesn't go down, doesn't get rocked, then it's hard to deny he has the best chin in boxing history, but I think Kovalev will hurt him if he lands, this is a very high risk fight for Alvarez, and if Kovalev does land, early, Alvarez might go. I think Alvarez will respect Kovalev's power, know the risks, but if he thinks he can soak up Kovalev's power, that's a bad mistake, and he'll get knocked out, still, I think Alvarez is too intelligent, too experienced, and has too much to lose, to make that mistake.

Kovalev has one of the best jabs in boxing, it not only nicks him rounds, but it gets his opponent in position, sets up power shots, drains his opponent when he lands the jab relentlessly, round after round. Kovalev only has 2 inches of reach on Alvarez, Jacobs has more reach than Kovalev, but Kovalev uses his reach very well, the jab would still be a good weapon if he had short arms, and I think the jab will be a problem for Alvarez. Alvarez must respect Kovalev's power, be cautious, but I think that will make it easier for Kovalev control Alvarez with the jab, because Alvarez won't be aggressive.

Alvarez may be the best body puncher in boxing, I think his power is overrated, but he hits hard enough and is able to do damage to the body which can take less power, and often more accuracy, timing. Kovalev is weak to the body, Alvarez won't be able to get to the body as easily as against Fielding, certainly early, partly because of the height, but more because Kovalev is so much harder to get on the inside against, but as the fight goes on, and Alvarez closes the distance, he can go to the body, and timing, accuracy, attributes he will still have despite the size issue. If this goes past 6, and Kovalev hasn't made it so that Alvarez tires first, then he will be the more tired, and Alvarez will do a lot of damage to the body, and if he hurts Kovalev badly enough to the body, builds on it, he can stop him.

Kovalev is 2 weights bigger than Golovkin, Alvarez never hurt Golovkin, but Kovalev is much less durable than Golovkin, more miles, been stopped, dropped, unlike Golovkin, but I think Alvarez might fail to hurt him with a single head shot, due to the size. Kovalev is coming off a good performance, no issues confidence wise, has momentum, but his resistance will be weak, his body will be more drained, because he's coming back too soon after the Yarde fight, that might be costly. Kovalev being drained due to lack of rest, would be more of an issue late in the fight, might make him rely on the early rounds. I think if Kovalev hurts Alvarez early, makes him gun shy, stops him working the body and pushing the pace, keeps it at his pace with his jab, that's his best chance of a win.

Shades of DeLa Hoya vs Pacquiao

I don't know why everybody's dismissing Kovalev's chances. We still have yet to see how Canelo's going to handle an elite opponent who is much bigger than him. It will be interesting to see how he handles the power up at this weight.

Additionally he's always had a tough time dealing with a good jab.

That being said Canelo is much quicker, younger and has a far better chin.

Honestly I could see this going either way, neither outcome would shock me terribly.

Kov only has 6 weeks to prepare right now...that date is way too soon

Champion97's picture

100% agree, but he isn't going down to a catchweight, let's see what the rehydration clause of there is one, if it's 185 or less, I'll agree with what you were saying at least to an extent, but if it's 190 or more, does Canelo get credit from you?

He'll get some credit from me of course, but I don't think I will pick Kov to win if he has such little time to prepare for Canelo. I will have to wait and see in what kind of spot Kovalev is mentally and physically before making a pick. He didn't really get to rest and recover from his last fight. He even said it himself that he wanted more time to rest and recover from the Yarde fight but that the money was too much to turn down. That sounds worrying. Sounds like a cash out mentality

Gold's picture

Boxers used to do this all the time, guys fighting 2-3 times a year is a modern invention of promoters

Sure but they didn't fight top comp after top comp...Canelo is arguably the #1 p4p fighter in the world. Only having 6 weeks to prepare for him and not really getting to rest and recover from your last fight, which was physically a hard one where he almost got KOd, can be very damaging for an old fighter like Kovalev.

Gold's picture

Not true, especially if you go back far enough. Saying Kovalev has six weeks isn't true either, it is a ten-week turn around between Yarde and Canelo. Kovalev knew there was a very good chance this fight would be next, he wasn't just sitting around and got the call. Pernell Whitaker had an eleven-week turn around from facing Hurtado to De La Hoya. In the fight versus Hurtado, Whitaker got put on the floor twice, was down on the cards, and had to knock Hurtado out to win, but he looked very good versus Oscar and many people thought he won that fight.

Kov hasn't been in the gym yet, so yes it is 6 weeks to prepare. By your logic Canelo has 6 months to prepare for the fight. So how is that fair?

Gold's picture

You know the details of Kovalev and Canelo's camps? Not at all what I am saying, they both have known the fight may be coming up for the same amount of time. A lot of guys do eight-week training camps, and some even do six-week camps. Kovalev just had a training camp and a fight so he won't need the extra time to get sharp as he would otherwise.

Champion97's picture

This is not personal in the slightest and I agree with you on the weight topic in this fight, but I agree with Floyd on this. Do you not think Groves physically needed more than the 3-4 months he had to recover after the Froch KO?, why do you think he looked so drained against Rebrasse and Douglin? And why do you think fighters get suspended after tough fights? The reason is, because there are more safety regulations now than there used to be, and just because fighters did something in the old days, doesn't mean it wasn't much more dangerous than how the sport is now, doesn't mean it won't be a factor, and the although fighting so often didn't seem to be an issue for fighters in the old days, that is only because they were all doing it, you are only in against your opponent, if both fighters come back too soon, we don't see the evidence in the fight, same when both fighters are old, both being small and inexperienced at a weight.

In my opinion, at world level, fighters should fight twice a year, simple as that.

Gold's picture

What's the comparison between Groves and Kovalev? I already gave a near 1:1 comparison between Whitaker and Kovalev, and how Whitaker looked good on the short turn around. My point with saying that old fighters used to do it is that it is physically possible, now people act like boxers need 4-6 months between each fight. I've seen many trainers criticize the current structure of boxers fighting 2-3 times a year because they aren't as in shape and sharp as they would be if they were more active.

Champion97's picture

The comparison is that both fight too soon after a damaging loss, having not had the time they need, to rest, in an era when fighters take the time they need, to recover from tough fights. Yes, but being weight drained and still fighting is physically possible, what I'm saying is, Kovalev needs more than 3 weeks to recover properly, and 6 weeks is a short camp, so for those reasons, 2-3 months is not enough, his resistance, ability to stay strong in the fight will be compromised, and if it was the old days, Alvarez might also be coming off a tough fight, with 2-3 months between fights, so it wouldn't matter in a competitive sense. They do need that amount of time in some scenarios, Joshua needs 6 months between the Ruiz fights, Thurman should not fight against at least until January, because think how long it takes to recover, and have a good camp, mentally prepare as well.

Gold's picture

Ok, well Kovalev took damage but he won, he didn't get sparked like Groves. Kovalev is not a big LHW, and despite having to make weight twice in a shorter period of time, he'll be in better condition for the Canelo fight because he's been so physically active. Joshua does not "need" six months between the Ruiz fights other than to lose muscle mass and improve his strategy. Sugar Ray Robinson got put through the ropes and was saved by the bell versus LaMotta in their second fight when he lost, rematched him three weeks later and won. Again, I've given a very close comparison between Whitaker and Kovalev but neither of you have answered to it.

Champion97's picture

He took more damaging shots in the fight than Groves against Froch, we can make arguments for either, but the scenarios are similar, both damaging fights, and it goes back to the issue that fighters need time to recover before camp. I think that's like saying a weight drained fighter will be in better shape because they've worked hard, Kovalev would be in just as good shape if he'd fought, found a good balance for 3 months, started camp im decent shape, had a 12 week camp. Come on man, he was concussed, he needs a lot of time for the brain to heal. Yes, against a Lamotta who had also fought 3 weeks earlier, Robinson took more damage, but he wouldn't have won against a fully rested and trained Lamotta. What comparison?, I need to read your post again.

Yeah I do, a buddy of mine on the web interviewed Kov and he told me that. He said Kov has only been having time off since he fought Yarde and hasn't started training seriously

Gold's picture

Can you link me to the interview? As I said, not unheard of for guys to do six-week camps coming off a short layoff, but not ideal.

Champion97's picture

That's a good point you make about Whitaker, he was behind in that fight, maybe he would have beaten De la Hoya clearly had he had more time, maybe it wasn't a factor in that case for whatever reason. It is possible that like just having a lot of miles and maybe or maybe not being shot, being drained because a fight is too after the last fight isn't an inevitable problem, but still a potential issue, because like I said before, Groves is an example, fighters get suspended after tough fights for a reason.

Kovalev is going to get destroyed by Canelo. I'm no Canelo fan (not a hater either) but there's no way in hell that Kovalev will be ready for him come Nov 2nd after the war he was in against Yarde less than a month ago. Now, if this fight were in like say May of next year then I'd give Kovalev a little bit of a chance or of at least hanging in there the full 12 with Canelo but with such short notice for a fight of this magnitude, no way. As of right now, I say Canelo stops Krusher inside of 9 rounds.