By: Sean Crose
“This is my biggest opportunity,” light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez said of his August 4th title fight against WBO champ Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City. “I waited three and a half years.” Alvarez was in line to face WBC champ Adonis Stevenson for ages, but, as has sometimes been the case for potential Stevenson opponents over the years, the bout never materialized. Now the undefeated Colombian fighter finally has his chance. “I’m going to be ready for this,” Alvarez claimed on a Tuesday conference call. For his part, Kovalev seems prepared to slip on the gloves and prove whose best, as well.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
“He’s undefeated,” Kovelev said of his foe in his trademark broken English (Alvarez himself spoke through a translator), “he’s number one WBC rank.” Still, Kovalev made it clear that he’s not the type to be easily frightened. “I’m not scared,” he said on the call. “I’m ready to face any champion.” Indeed, Kovalev wishes to finally accomplish his longstanding dream of unifying all the major light heavyweight belts. “My goal is to get all four titles,” he said, “to be undisputed champion.”
That may be a very hard goal to accomplish in an era of competing promotional outfits and networks. What’s more, Stevenson, fairly or not, has a reputation in many quarters for having previously been completely unwilling to face Kovelev in a unification match. Asked whether he was tired of hearing about the likes of Stevenson and Andre Ward, who bested him in the ring twice, Kovalev came across as unperturbed. “It’s part of my career,” he stated. “I’m happy I’m still fighting, but Andre Ward’s already retired.”
I asked Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, and Alvarez’ promoter, Yvon Michel, how difficult it was to make Kovalev-Alvarez after Alvarez had been standing at the door to a championship fight for so long. “From my perspective,” said Duva, “it was extremely easy.” According to Duva, she simply gave, Michel a call, an assertion Michel quickly backed up. “We had a meeting,” he said, referring to events that occurred immediately after the Duva call. “I came back from that meeting with a mandate.” And hence, a title bout was made. “It’s not that difficult,” Duva said, “when you have two fighters who want to make the fight.”
Rising star Dmitry Bivol will also be on the August 4th card. He’ll be facing veteran fighter Isacc Chilemba, who stunned Sullivan Barerra in March. The winner will be in he possession of the WBA light heavyweight title. That means, should they both win this weekend, a Kovalev-Bivol bout may be on the horizon. “Most likely the fight will happen,” Bivol said, “as Sergey and I are both HBO boxers.”