JAIME BOURNE – CANELO SD – After being treated to Spence-Porter, Golovkin-Derevyanchenko, Beterbiev-Gvozdyk and Prograis-Taylor in recent weeks, we have another superstar showdown tomorrow night as Canelo Alvarez jumps up to light heavyweight to take on WBO champion, Sergey Kovalev.
The Krusher is not the force he once was but remains a formidable force at 175lbs. After being stopped by Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez, the Russian lost his air of invincibility and looked set for life as a world championship gatekeeper. However, since teaming up with Buddy McGirt, the Russian has revived his career and looks a rejuvenated fighter. In 2019, he has avenged his defeat to Alvarez and stopped undefeated contender, Anthony Yarde. He may no longer be considered elite but he is still a world-class fighter and one of the top dogs at light heavyweight.
Following his unanimous decision victory against Danny Jacobs earlier this year, Canelo is daring to be great by jumping up two weight classes as he looks to add another world championship to his collection. The Mexican has fought at 168-pounds before, stopping Rocky Fielding inside three rounds, but hasn’t solidly campaigned above the 160-pound limit previously. Most expected a trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin to be next on the agenda but he instead opted for a more ambitious challenge.
Both men possess the tools to outbox each other. At range, I favour Kovalev, especially given the advantages in size, whilst I feel Canelo is better suited up close. The main concern for Kovalev is that in recent fights he has looked vulnerable heading into the later rounds. The aforementioned Yarde, despite being outboxed for seven rounds, had the Russian in all sorts of trouble in the eighth round of their fight back in August. Someone with more championship experience, like a Canelo, perhaps wouldn’t have rushed in and would have taken their time. The Brit showed his inexperience and ultimately paid the price.
For me, Canelo’s ability or inability to hurt Kovalev will be a key factor. He has the tools to outbox Kovalev up close but will he be able to discourage Kovalev from throwing his usual 1-2 variations. It’s worth mentioning, Canelo hasn’t been able to hurt any of the top opposition that he has faced at 154 or above. He was unable to stop Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, and Miguel Cotto at light-middleweight, plus Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Gennady Golovkin and Jacobs at 160.
Canelo: Keys to Victory
The important thing for Canelo is to nullify Kovalev’s jab and restrict his movement. The jab is the Russian’s most effective weapon, whether thrown singularly or to start/finish a combination. By not allowing Kovalev space to fully extend his jab, Canelo will take the sting out of his punches. He also has to cut off the ring intelligently to prevent the Russian from using his feet to create angles to throw the heavy shots.
I would like to see more of the Canelo that we saw in the second Golovkin fight, where he stood in the pocket, remained busy and traded with GGG. If he boxes off the back-foot & looks to solely counterpunch as he did in the first Golovkin fight, he will play into the hands of Kovalev and it will make for a close fight.
Kovalev: Keys to Victory
Kovalev has to keep it long throughout the fight and make Canelo respect his power early. He’ll have to utilise his reach and ramrod jab to keep Canelo at a safe distance, then follow up with hard straight shots to prevent Canelo from pressing forward. Ward exposed body shots as Kovalev’s main vulnerability, which will be something Canelo, as one of the sports best body snatchers, will look to exploit.
However, I think Kovalev could prosper from employing similar same tactics against the Mexican. Since moving up from 154lbs, Canelo has started fights strongly but struggled to maintain his brilliance in the later rounds. He dominated Jacobs for the first half of their fight but allowed the American back into the contest during the second half.
Kovalev needs to continuously pepper the body and maintain a high pace heading into the later rounds. If he can tire Canelo out during the middle stages, Kovalev could head into the championship rounds ahead on the scorecards and with a real chance of pulling off the victory.
My prediction is Canelo wins via split decision. I think Kovalev uses his advantages in size & reach to claim the early rounds, sticking behind the jab & reversing the 1-2. As the fight progresses, I expect Canelo to begin closing the distance, targeting the mid-section and throwing with Kovalev – rather than trying to counterpunch. I’m not convinced that Canelo’s power will be as effect up at 175lb or that he possesses the engine to drag Kovalev into deep waters.
At the end of twelve rounds, I think the scorecards will be incredibly close and many will feel that the decision could go either way. We might be subject to another contentious decision, and, if the cards are close, you have to favour Canelo.
PAUL J DALEY – CANELO UD – Standing on the edge of greatness there comes a moment in time when a fighter acknowledges that a short jump is needed or in this case a big jump to attain the moment, some do so with blinkers on, subtract of any feeling that a loss could derail the momentum they had been gained up to that point, allowing themselves to never waiver in the face of defeat, no intention of looking down to the abyss which can deter a lesser individual, who give a quick glance over the shoulder before taking a few steps back to the safety net of facing the latest contender or gatekeeper of his more natural weight class.
Every so often in history, there remains a handful with intentions on leaping the gorge in readiness to possess what was always promised of him/her. One such moment that presents itself on Saturday night for the Cinnamon Kid, Canelo Alvarez.
The man awaiting his arrival with the objective on sending him spiralling into the abyss, does so with an air of confidence gained from knowing that he will be TWO weight classes heavier than the one the challenger presents, a man known to us all for his power, ‘Krusher’ Sergey Kovalev.
So If you were somehow living on another planet, unable to trace the respective careers of either man, instantly just by a quick glance make an educated pick for a winner, Kovalev in this instance holds all the natural advantages in height, weight plus knowing that he has disposed of 29 from a possible 34 wins mirroring the fact his devastating nature is proven at the Light Heavyweight limit.
Let that sink in, 29 men either left the ring with a severe concussion or was unable to walk on their own merits after sharing the ring with Kovalev, like I aforementioned his Light Heavyweight credentials are there for all to see whereas Canelo, apart from stopping Rocky Fielding at Super Middleweight as so far left uncertainty as to him being a heavy hitter at the heavier weight classes.
It is only to be expected unless you are perhaps Manny Pacquiao or someone alike. This is one of the areas which as given me the most concern when predicting a winner.
Sergey Kovalev’s pedigree as a Light Heavyweight is well documented, hence his nickname but since his 2016 loss to Andre Ward, we have seen a decline in his powers, in that instant on the 19th November he lost the cloak of invisibility, the blueprint had been placed in front of fighters by the technically great Ward, the plans to which have been carried out again by Ward in 2017 and later by Colombian Eleider Alvarez.
A change of trainers, a fresh coat of paint in a bid to hide the cracks that reside under the teak tough exterior, cracks that on Saturday night Canelo will look to expose.
The red-haired Mexican will stand across from him a Middleweight or should that read a ‘Welterweight’ who as the audacity of kicking down the door to the Light Heavyweight division in a bid to add more lines to his legacy.
Always ready for the challenges that present themselves, Canelo is one of very rare breed who looks for the best fighters to compare himself against, we asked of him to face Floyd Mayweather, he did so, Erislandy Lara, a boogeyman to many, he did so, Miguel Cotto same again thing and the list continues.
Gennady Golovkin shared twenty four memorable rounds with the Mexican, he exited the first with a forntuate result and could easily have halved that tally the two men shared and walked away but instead gave in to the calls from the public to again put on a spectacle of brutality.
Here we witness him again test himself, this time in a weight class against a fighter who is still regarded as one of the best with further sights on toppling the Cruiserweight division thereafter, saying to the reporters ‘Why Not?’
So without more babbling from me, you want to know who wins? I see a fight of two halves, the earlier stages in favour of Kovalev, using his famed jab to keep Canelo on the outside, a safe haven for the Russian who will attempt to work in one-two combinations in a bid to break the normally tough exterior of Canelo.
Don’t be surprised to see Kovalev ahead on the judges scorecards early but the tide will inevitably turn at the half way point. The better footwork mixed with head movement of Canelo allowing him to make inroads inside the guard of Kovalev to land short / hard shots to the head and body of Kovalev.
The body attack in particular will be key in taking away the legs from the ageing Kovalev, each one sapping away the energy reserves of the 36 year-old.
I wouldn’t rule out Kovalev being on bended knee from one of those racking right crosses to the body but all being told, I favour the decision being the more concrete of results with Canelo winning unanimously by a three/four point margin.
DEAN BERKS – CANELO UD – The tail end of this year is throwing up some fascinating match-ups and this one could be the most extraordinary of all. One thing with Alvarez is though, is that he is not afraid to take on any challenge. This one however, maybe the jump too far in many experts opinion.
Conceding natural height and weight, Alvarez is going to have his work cut out getting inside the reach of Kovalev. But this is nothing new to the reigning middleweight king. What will be different is that the Russian carries a lot of weight in those fists, especially the right, and he could very well put Alvarez in serious trouble. Kovalev’s jab however, is the weapon to get beyond and the Mexican has had difficult moments against fighters who have had a strong one. Under esteemed trainer Buddy McGirt, this has been refined even more, and Kovalev likes to keep the action at this distance so he can put together three punch combinations, all straight, to break his opponent down. Alvarez deft head and foot movement will look to get inside of this and focus on Kovalev’s ageing body.
Kovalev also pulls out straight, enabling him to get caught with the overhand right on many occasions, something that Alvarez will be banking on. But as dangerous as Kovalev is, he is also becoming increasingly vulnerable, a big reason why I believe this fight was made. Alvarez see’s this fight as a way to not only add another trinket to his collection, but also of a way of testing the waters at the heavier weight. Timing is everything with boxing’s premier star and I believe he’s got it spot on again. After some tense patches early on, look for Alvarez to take over late and grind out a solid points win.
JONATHAN HARRIS – CANELO TKO – We have reached another peak of boxing where we may be witnessing a fighter that will go down as an all-time great, right in front of our very eyes, Canelo Alvarez will always be talked about, will always have a mention with great Mexican fighters, even if he hung up his gloves this very instant. On the end of those rough and tough Mexican knuckles, is a superb resume, a list of names, that at the tender age of just 29 is pretty much mind-blowing.
Canelo fighting Kovalev though, is really what sets the standards of Elite athletes that dare to be great to get their names scrolled into the history books.
I ask for you not to take this as a misinterpretation though, it is clear to naked eye that father time has sunk his hourglass into Kovalev and the sand is running thick and fast through the glass, closing in on the Russians time left as a fighter, he is not yet done, but as we have seen the past few fights he is most definitely not the vicious, dangerous beast that he was.
“pssst that’s why the fight is happening at this time”
But the danger is still lingering in both hands of any man who can fight at this kind of level, especially against Canelo, a man moving up weight to light heavyweight. How intriguing this matchup is though, it gives me chills to what we may witness, and every scenario steamrolls through my boxing crazed brain every time I envision such a matchup.
The lay down.
Kovalev will always be a dangerous fighter, he has proved under the wing of Buddy Mcgirt that he wasn’t just a one-trick pony, after his shock defeat against Elieder Alvarez, Kov showed a beautiful display of boxing in the rematch to regain what he thought was rightfully his. Against Anthony Yarde there was also clear signs of weakness, mid-fight the krusher started getting krushed by a show of fatigue and weakness to body shots, but also showed the heart of a lion to come back into the fight and later stop the younger talent in Yarde. The one thing that I truly believe though, is Andre Ward snatched something out of the soul of Kovalev that will never return, he wasn’t badly knocked out, or wasn’t humiliated completely, but something that night happened inside the heart of Kovalev that he really struggles to deal with now, whether it be doubt in his own ability, or in his bravery, I really don’t know, but something more than belts were taken that night.
Saul Canelo Alvarez:
The dare man, the fighter who is most definitely working to have his name muttered in every great Mexican boxing talks, “Little Cinnamon” although has a fantastic resume, it has come with some sour stages, he most definitely is in talks for p4p top 3 right now, but fans struggle to place him at the moment with the controversial decision in the Golovkin fights and also the failed drug test from taking a taste of Phil Heath’s pet cow that came up positive for Clembrutrol, for me though this puts Canelo number 1 pound for pound in the world and that is an outstanding achievement in itself, this could really right the wrongs and set the tone.
As they say “A man is only as good as his last fight” and to a degree that is true, for me this fight has been chosen very intelligently by team Alvarez, and the whole body language and “nicey-nicey” ora that is coming from Kovalev, he and his team knows it too. The first few rounds that heavy accurate jab of the krusher will work beautiful, giving Canelo a real hard time to get on the inside, or at distance enough to really let anything go without mistakes, after the 4th or 5th round with the spectacular timing and setting up faints to be able to hit Kovalev where he has his suspect weakness, to the body it will start to be shine time for Canelo. This will not only wear Kov down physically but also set him on the back foot with the mentality of “if I throw, he is going to catch me with something even better” .. and for me that will be the end of road, with some agonising final rounds, my brain is telling me that is will be a 12 round stoppage for the red-haired Mexican. This has to be my final prediction, though by fight night it may have already changed 20 times again.
As always best of luck to both fighters and teams and may they both leave with full health!
RICARDO CASTINEYRA – CANELO UD – I think that Kovalev will last the distance due to his expirience at the weight division but it will not be enough to beat the Mexican. Canelo will apply pressure and try to back up Kovalev throughout. It will be entertaining but not spectacular
DAN BARRETT – CANELO TKO – Between these two fighters there seem to be crucial differences in the area of defensive mindfulness; and in spite of the more recent and successful training regimens of Kovalev with the discerning Buddy McGirt, my suspicion’s that, with one of these fighters, accustomed and unwanted habits will remain, and determine the outcome.
Kov has tendencies which he seems not to have been able to divest himself, and which appear to limit him: the lowness of the left hand in general stance, and his slowness in retracting it after delivery of his jab; his seeming incapacity to tie-up effectively on the inside, or when hurt; his tendency to engage & disengage in straight lines, denying him variagated attacks; the lack of fluency when going backfoot; his sometime overeagerness in response to feints; his tendency to close his eyes when hit emphatically or directly, rendering him further vulnerable, and impairing his means to counter; his openness to the right hand uppercut, when on the inside (see the Anthony Yarde bout); lastly, that he seems not to adjust his offense to those who, with artful upper body movement, are able radically to alter their height.
On the other side, Canelo stands as the more versatile fighter, who’s submitted himself to facing an enormous gamut of styles. A perceptive training team, whose function seems to be largely diagnostic, fosters that stylistic flexibility which has enabled him – following the early loss to Mayweather – to acclimate himself, with identifiable success, to each of these opponents. Having evidently put a premium on fostering defensive slickness and offensive variety, they’ve transformed him from a talented, overenthusiastic youngster with a precipitous manner and somewhat static capacities, into a highly nuanced and adaptable artist.
Considering the array of skills, the composure, and the ring acumen, required to defeat an opponent with, let’s say, Danny Jacob’s endemic power, versatility, and athleticism, or GGG’s inexorability and solidity, Saul appears a fighter with a completeness which only few in the game possess. And if we may indulge our imaginations by excerpting one telling sequence from a recent fight, as a fair sampling in the departments of both power and timing, the ending of Amir Khan fight may prove instructive: for, notwithstanding the susceptibility of Amir’s chin, it could be reasonably expected that many fighters of tougher whisker, far keener in skillset than Khan, and of heavier division, would be similarly brought down by a counter right hand with this level of delivery.
I see the same punch as writing the epilogue to this fight, via KO, in the 10th, after much devitalizing of Sergey’s body in the middle rounds.
TRE BERRY – CANELO TKO – Saturday night, two well known Box-Office draws will face each other in from of a Las Vegas crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Reigning RING/WBA/WBC”Franchise” Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (52-1-2, 35KO) moves up to 175 to square off against WBO Light-Heavyweight Titlist Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29KO) for the Krusher’s title. A very unique fight, here’s how I feel it will pan out.
The strengths that Canelo can bring to the fight are these – he is a very good bodypuncher, and in my opinion is the second best counterpuncher in boxing behind Terence Crawford. Canelo also has a fantastic chin, only being hurt by 2 opponents in his career, and as far as his weight, the re-hydration process is downright astonishing as he typically re-hydrates and enters the ring as some form of Cruiserweight, so he is comfortable at fighting at heavier weights when it’s time to take the ring. His weaknesses are that he fights in spurts during chunks of rounds, is very economic with his output, and loses gas at times during the back end of fights.
Kovalev’s main strength is a ramrod job, and power that warrants him having his moniker of “the Krusher”. He’s intelligent, has a long reach, and is a beast from the outside. His short coming is that he has no inside game, and his punch resistance to the body is suspect. Also, considering his history, and his age being 36 years of age, stamina may be an issue in his case as well.
Canelo has good power, not great, however Kovalev’s shortcomings to the body exposes a big vulnerability that Canelo can take advantage of, but he has to be able to get there. Canelo will have to step out of his comfort zone and get more active to try to get to the Krusher’s ribs. Kovalev success is in peppering the jab to keep him outside, and if successful, could land the power to hurt Canelo, but if he can’t get the jab going, Canelo will use his great defensive upper body movement to get inside and around Kovalev’s jab and right hand to chop the taller man down. I see Canelo getting hurt at some point of the fight early, but will gather himself to take over and dominate in the mid portion of the fight, and will knock Kovalev out at or around the 7th round.
STEVE HAIGH – CANELO UD – Let’s be absolutely clear about one thing here. Not on De La Hoyas kinky stash of underwear would this fight be taking place if Kovalev had been looking his destructive self of late. It’s a calculated risk that Goldenboy has taken because DAZN demand a big name and Canelo is reluctant to fight GGG a third time
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not an intriguing fight. Going into the bout I don’t visualise that there will be much of a difference in weight but the size gap is pretty damn obvious, and that’s key here.
If Kovalev can dictate the range and use his trademark volume then Alvarez is gonna get busted up but how much gas is in the tank after midway? We saw against Yarde in that eighth round that Sergey was near empty with McGirt ready to pull him out. Canelo would capitalise where Yarde failed.
Having said that I’m sure the Russian will have put a solid camp in for this fight it could happen but I’m not going all-in on him gassing out to that extent here, It will be interesting to see if Canelo takes the same approach as Ward from outside or if he tries to take away the range but either way the midsection of his opponent will hold an invisible bullseye.
Canelo Alvarez has only one stoppage above junior middleweight (Khan) and he’s not a huge puncher so for that reason alone against a genuine light heavyweight I don’t believe he wins by stoppage unless Krusher runs his tank dry.
Kovalev is a serious volume puncher with high accuracy and power which alone makes this a dangerous fight for the Mexican. I believe that this fight goes twelve rounds though and in this part of the world Kovalev will need a knockout for the draw.
DANIEL FOLEY – CANELO UD – It seems we’ve been spoiled in the last few fights with some big fights in the boxing world and on this coming Saturday we’ve got another huge fight when Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez moves up two weight divisions to take on Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev. Will the trend of amazing fights continue when these two clash for the WBO light heavyweight title?
This fight certainly looks to be a very interesting match-up with a lot of focus being on the considerable size difference between each fighter, Kovalev is the natural light heavyweight and has fought at this weight throughout his career demonstrating devastating KO power during this time with 29 of his 34 wins coming by way of KO. He only has 2 losses on his professional record, those coming at the hands of Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez. All of this makes it sound as if Canelo will have one hell of a mountain to climb on Saturday, however despite these stats there are some other important factors to consider such as the fact that Kovalev is now 36 years old and coming to the tail end of his career, he’s looked a lot more vulnerable in his last few fights and if ever there was a time to take on ‘Krusher’ it would be now. Canelo is currently in the prime of his career at 29 years old and having only the 1 defeat on his record, against Floyd Mayweather six years ago, he will be full of confidence stepping up for this challenge.
Canelo will be in for a role reversal of sorts in this fight, usually he is the one who possesses a size advantage against his opponents, however on Saturday he will have to make some considerable adjustments being the smaller fighter for a change, on the plus side he should easily have the speed advantage in this fight, and if he uses his head movement to get inside he can use his excellent body punches to make Kovalev suffer. This combined with his counter punching ability could prove key to winning this fight. We’ve seen Kovalev be prone to body punches in the past and I expect bodywork to play a big part in his plan to defeat the Russian.
The big question I have in this fight is will Canelo’s excellent chin stand up to the power of a man who is so much bigger? We’ve seen him take some tremendous shots in his career from some big punchers such as GGG, but Kovalev is a different kind of animal to what he’s faces thus far. If Canelo is to win this fight he will need to be focused and switched on all night as Sergey has the power to end the fight in any round. He demonstrated this perfectly in his last fight against Anthony Yarde, where he was perhaps losing the fight on the scorecards, before landing a KO in the 11th round. For Kovalev to win he will need to use all of his natural size advantages and in particular his jab, even though he’s no longer at his best, he’s still a very dangerous fighter and definitely has the ability to win. After thinking a lot about this fight though I feel Canelo will be the man to walk away with the win on Saturday, it will take a special fighter to move up two weight divisions and win but I think Canelo is just that, a special fighter and on Saturday night I think we’ll see another career defining performance from the Mexican.
CHRIS GLOVER – CANELO UD – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kovalev give a much better account of himself than people are suggesting he’s going too. His power will trouble Canelo at some point during the fight. He has to win by knockout however to stand any chance of even getting a draw.
How Canelo can jump up and down in weights like he does still puzzles me, as someone who does understand making weight first hand, it’s a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I feel a Canelo decision victory will be the outcome.
SEAN BASTOW – CANELO TKO – This is a fascinating contest because when a fighter moves up a weight it is normally in the lighter division. Canelo is moving up not one, but two weights to take on Kovalev. Kovalev is a proud champion and has served the light heavyweight division well for many years, but it is evident that his skills that once made him a feared fighter are starting to decline and he looks ready to be dethroned once again.
Canelo has something that was very noticeable in the last fight [with Daniel Jacobs] and it was his waist movement, Kovalev is big and strong, he is going to try to jab [Canelo] and he is not going to find him, and they are going to hit Kovalev’s body hard.
I think that Canelo will stop Kovalev between rounds 7-10 to secure another title in yet another weight class thus cementing his legacy in the sport.
CRAIG MORGAN – CANELO UD – The old adage: a good big man always beats a good small man……or does it? This fight is so intriguing, to see if Canelo can take his skills and power up to 175lbs, to take on the once feared Kovalev. Kovalev has fought at the weight for all of his career and Canelo has fought the majority of his career at 154-160lbs.
The consensus opinion is that Canelo will be attempting to use his skills to stay out of harm’s way, come in and out with body shots. The trouble with that theory is the outstanding jab of Kovalev, which he’s had for all of his career, witnessed in his last fight, when he stopped the undefeated Anthony Yarde in the 11th round. Whether Canelo can avoid this punch and get inside will be the biggest factor.
Kovalev needs to keep Canelo at the end of his jab, wearing him down and impose his strength on his younger opponent. Canelo is the younger man by 7 years, is in his prime physically but Kovalev has shown some vulnerability in his last few fights, even when winning.
Canelo destroyed Rocky Feilding, in his first fight at 168lbs but the gulf in class deemed the weight difference irrelevant. Kovalev is a multi-time world champion and a formidable opponent for anybody in his weight class.
With it being in Las Vegas, it will be hard for Kovalev to get a decision win against Canelo, as witnessed in both of the Canelo/GGG fights. If the fight goes the distance, Canelo will take the decision but if Kovalev has enough left to really take it to him, it could be interesting. Canelo has never shown vulnerability with his chin throughout his career but this is the biggest opponent he’s faced. I think Canelo can use his speed and skills to avoid the power of Kovalev, to take a points win.