By: Hans Themistode
When it comes down to choosing an opponent for four division boxing champion Canelo Alvarez’s next ring appearance, it seems to be a merry go round. The only difference on this ride, is that it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.
Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) has just about everyone calling him out. When you become a world champion in three weight classes simultaneously, the amount of callouts grows exponentially.
In his past three fights, Canelo campaigned in three different weight classes. First, Canelo needed only three rounds to rip away the WBA “Regular” title from Rocky Fielding. He grabbed the IBF crown in the Middleweight division from Daniel Jacobs shortly after, before capping things off with a brutal 11th round stoppage over Sergey Kovalev for his Light Heavyweight WBO belt.
Canelo may have been proud of the work that he has done as of late, but he now wakes up every single day to a new rumor from an opponent he quite possibly didn’t even know existed.
The latest Canelo news involved WBA “Regular” Middleweight titlist Ryota Murata. Apparently, he not only had his own intentions of fighting Canelo but he also intended on dragging him across the world to Japan in order to do so.
Before anyone could even wrap their heads around the news, Murata had seemingly out of nowhere, became the front runner.
Fans of Canelo begrudgingly, began to pack their bags to head half way across the world. Yet, it seems as though the long road trip won’t be needed. According to ESPN the Mexican born Canelo has narrowed his choices down to two opponents, and none include Murata.
Leading the large pack of Canelo opponent hopefuls is WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and WBC titlist Callum Smith.
Both front runners are coming off uninspiring performances in their last ring outing. For Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) he managed to score a stoppage win over the unknown Marcelo Esteban Coceres, but looked flat and uninterested throughout. As for Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) he struggled far more than anyone was expecting against his mandatory challenger John Ryder.
Pay no mind to either performance. Smith has the height, power and reach to give Canelo all sorts of issues, while Saunders is the sort of boxer that if he is on his best day, can take down anyone.
With Murata now officially out of the running, Canelo is expected to make a decision in terms of who he will choose as an opponent within the next few weeks. Of course, another dark horse candidate could appear but for now, it seems as though both Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders have the inside track to get the fight next.
By: William Holmes
The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York was the host site of tonight’s Top Rank Promotions card televised live on ESPN.
The co-main event of the night was a lightweight contest between Felix Verdejo (25-1) and Manuel Rey Rojas (18-3).
Verdejo took the center of the ring early on and was active with his jab. Rojas attacked to the body of Verdejo, but neither boxer was taking many risks in the opening rounds.
Rojas looked unafraid of Verdejo’s power in the second round, but was getting outworked. Verdejo had backed Rojas into the corner in the third round and was landing his lead left hook.
Rojas had moderate success in the middle rounds, especially when he kept the fight in close. Verdejo remained the more active fighter, but appeared to fade as the rounds progressed.
Verdejo’s face was a little marked up by the eight round, and Rojas looked to have more energy than Verdejo by the ninth, but Verdejo was active enough to win the later rounds, as his jab remained accurate and he covered up well during Rojas’ combinations.
It wasn’t an impressive victory for Verdejo, but he did enough to win the bout.
Felix Verdejo won with scores of 99-91, 97-93, and 98-92.
Top Rank’s promotional arm was in full force after the Verdejo fight, as their analysts hyped up that upcoming pay per view.
The main event of the evening was between Eleider Alvarez (24-1) and Michael Seals (24-2) in the light heavyweight division.
Both boxers are slightly past their athletic prime, but both are still known for their power, especially Seals.
Both boxers came out in an orthodox stance and Alvarez was on the attack early. Seals complained about being punched behind the head in the first and Alvarez was warned by the referee.
Alvarez continued to press the pace on Seals in the second round and was able to land some hard overhand rights. Seals looked frustrated by the third round and Alvarez’s technical prowess over Seals was evident.
Seals did some good body work in the fourth round, but most of his punches were blocked by Alvarez. Alvarez kept his distance in the fifth round and landed a vicious straight right at the end of the round.
Alvarez was effective with his jab in the sixth and seventh rounds and was able to keep Seals at a safe distance while landing the cleaner combinations.
Alvarez was able to end it in the seventh round with a bomb of an overhand right that sent Seals crashing to the mat. Seals was unable to get up before the count of ten.
Eleider Alvares wins by knockout in the seventh round.
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will be the host site of a Top Rank Promotions card being televised live on ESPN.
The main event of the night will be a light heavyweight clash between Eleider Alvarez and Michael Seals. Alvarez is a former light heavyweight world champion and Seals is looking for a title shot in the near future.
The co-feature of the evening will be a lightweight bout between Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo and Manuel Rey Rojas. Other boxers on the card include Christopher Diaz, Victor Bisbal, Jonathan Guzman, and Abraham Nova.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Felix Verdejo (25-1) vs. Manuel Rey Rojas (18-3); Lightweights
Felix Verdejo was once considered a can’t miss prospect, but a stunning TKO loss to Antonio Lozada Torres has taken away some of his hype.
Verdejo will be facing a three loss Rojas on Saturday night, and on paper appears to have many advantages. Verdejo will have about a one inch height advantage but will be giving up about a half inch in reach. Verdejo has a significant edge in power. He has stopped sixteen of his opponents while Rojas has only stopped five. They are both of the same age at twenty six years old.
Verdejo has been fighting sporadically. He only fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and once in 2017. Rojas fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Verdejo has the edge in amateur experience. Verdejorepresented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and is a former Pan American Gold Medalist. Rojas has no notable amateur experience.
Verdejo’s lone loss was to Antonio Lozada Torres. He has defeated the likes of Bryan Vasquez, Juan Alvarez, William Silva, and Ivan Najera. Torres has lost two bouts since defeating Verdejo.
Rojas’ resume is a little thin. His last two opponents had losing records. He has defeated the likes of Zhimin Wang and Andy Vences. He has losses to Casey Ramos and Alexis del Bosque.
This will be the first out that Verdejo will have while training under Ismael Salas. There’s some big money fights out there to be made for Verdejo but he first has to get past Rojas. It’s expected he will pass this test easily.
Eleider Alvarez (24-1) vs. Michael Seals (24-2); Light Heavyweights
Eleider Alvarez briefly held a light heavyweight title after he scored a shocking upset over Sergey Kovalev, but his reign was short lived in Kovalev defeated him in a rematch.
Alvarez looks to get back to his winning ways when he faces Michael Seals in the main event on Saturday. Despite the fact that Alvarez is thirty five years old, he will actually be two years younger than his opponent. However, Seals will have a three inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage on Saturday.
Seals also appears to have an edge in power. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Alvarez only stopped twelve. Seals has also been the more active fighter, he fought twice in 2019, three times in 2018, and once in 2017. Alvarez only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017.
Alvarez does have an edge in amateur experience. Alvarez competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Seals has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Isidro Prieto, and Alexander Johnson.
Seals’ resume is a little thin. He has defeated the likes of Byron Mitchell, Andy Perez, and Carlos Cruz. His losses were to Michael Gbenga and Edwin Rodriguez.
If Alvarez was facing someone younger or in his athletic prime with the resume of Seals, this writer might think it’s a close fight. But since Seals is thirty seven year old boxer with no big name wins, this writer has to give a significant edge to Alvarez.
By: Sean Crose
After winning the WBO light heavyweight title in impressive fashion last month by stopping the skillful Sergey Kovalev late in the fight, Canelo Alvarez has decided to vacate that title in order to move on to greener pastures. Although people instantly started thinking about how the Mexican star would fair against other current light heavyweight champions (Artur Beiterbev, Dmitry Bivol) immediately after his victory after the veteran Kovalev, those matchups will remain in the imagination rather than transpire in the ring. Having relinquished the title on Tuesday, Canelo is now on record having held the WBO championship for just over six weeks.
“I know,” Canelo claimed, “that my accomplishments in the ring have brought pride to my fans and my country.” Although he abdicated one of the organization’s belts, Canelo showed typical respect and courtesy when referring to the WBO. “I have long enjoyed my relationship with the WBO and appreciate all they do to preserve and enhance the sport of boxing,” he said. “This agreement allows the WBO to have its light heavyweight title contested regularly and allows me to pursue bouts against the best opponents, regardless of weight class.” Worth noting is the fact that Canelo won the WBOs super welterweight title by besting Liam Smith in 2017.
Canelo’s promoter, Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya, came across as fine with his fighter’s decision. “We completely support ,” he said, “the decision made by Canelo Alvarez and the WBO.” De La Hoya then engaged in the promotion business by building up his fighter’s November achievement. “Canelo made history by stopping Sergey Kovalev in impressive fashion to become a four-division world champion.” De La Hoya went on to point out his fighter’s ability to successfully navigate his way through differing weight divisions: “Not only did he show that he is a real threat at 175 pounds, but he also demonstrated that he is fully capable of moving across several divisions to look for the most exciting fights for the fans.”
WBO head Francisco Valcarcel also voiced support for Canelo. “Canelo has already accomplished much in boxing, and is still a young man,”Valcarcel claimed. “When his career is done, he will be regarded as one of the greatest boxers to ever step into the ring, and one of Mexico’s best fighters ever. We look forward to his future fights against rivals at the top of the middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and other divisions.”
Questions will now undoubtedly turn towards who Canelo may indeed fight next. He clearly has no great interest in facing Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight powerhouse who most feel bested Canelo in at least one of their two fights (Canelo was given a controversial draw in the first battle, and a controversial win in the second). No one knows for sure, however, whether or not Canelo will return to middleweight at this point – perhaps to face another high level opponent in that division. Canelo might also choose to return to super middleweight, where he won a belt in late 2018, in order to face a high end opponent in that particular weight realm.
By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez brought down over a million pay per view buys when he battled Gennady Golovkin fourteen months ago. He did the same thing when he fought Golovkin a year earlier. A million pay per view buys, for those who don’t know, are hard to come by. Only a relative handful of combat sporting events do those kinds of numbers. And boxing, thanks to Floyd Mayweather, occupies the top spots for the most pay per view buys in history. Even if this weren’t the case, however, it would be hard to imagine boxing being in a bad place right now. It’s had five million-plus pay per view events in the past five years alone. And three of them have featured Canelo.
Yet here we are, late in 2019, with obituaries being written for the sport of boxing yet again. Boxing has gotten bad press since the time of bare knuckles, of course, but in our hyperactive age its easy for even paid journalists to get caught up in the moment, to tweet, as it were, before thinking. The boxing is dead crowd have been banging their drums quite loudly lately, ever since DAZN pushed back last week’s Canelo-Kovalev fight until a UFC fight card wrapped up in New York first. It was all the naysayers needed.
Of course, these individuals could look at pay per view numbers over the past five years, or realize that there’s a whole lot more boxing out there than there are UFC events. They could look at things like fighter paychecks or overall revenue or even pictures of Wembley Stadium when a big fight goes down in London. I suspect they won’t do those things though, because research isn’t exciting, and it generally doesn’t lead to click baity articles.What research does do, however, is give people insight, perspective, and a better handle on things in general.
As for Canelo, and the fact DAZN seemed less than confident about his drawing power last weekend…I think the man’s brand may be tarnished a bit, and I think DAZN suspected as much, too. I’m not the first person to make this assertion about Canelo’s brand being tarnished, but the more I think of it, the more clear it all seems. Combat sports, after all, live or die by individual brands. It’s been that way since the time of John L Sullivan. And Canelo may be seeing stock in his brand drop. Two highly controversial decisions in the Golovkin fights, PED tests, charges of stubbornness and of receiving preferential treatment…such things take their toll.
Canelo can still be the brand he was fourteen months ago. First, though, I think he has to try to drop down in weight and settle unfinished business with Golovkin next Cinco de Mayo weekend. That should appease critics and fans alike. It will also clear the air, so that his sparkling brand might actually shine once more. As for the naysayers, let them naysay. There’s good fights out there to watch.
By: Hans Themistode
With Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 26 KOs) making not only a successful debut at Light Heavyweight, but an explosive one in knocking out former WBO titlist Sergey Kovalev. Many, like always, have wondered what could possibly be next for the Mexican superstar.
Canelo surely won’t be short on options.
As it currently stands, Canelo now holds world titles in three different weight divisions. Middleweight, Super Middleweight and now, Light Heavyweight.
Each weight class presents its own set of dangerous opponents. In the Middleweight division fighters such as WBC belt holder Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs) and WBO champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs) are both undefeated and could provide Canelo with an arduous test.
Charlo, who has a December 7th contest against Dennis Hogan, is very big for the weight class. His ability to put his opponents out with his vaunted power is unlike any other in the division. Andrade on the other hand presents a different sort of challenge, as it easy to make the argument that no one is a better overall boxer than the current WBO champion.
At the Super Middleweight division, Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) has already proven his worth by winning the WBA title and coming out victorious in the World Boxing Super Series. He is clearly the top name in the division and a contest between the two has been floating around for quite some time now.
Each of these fighters would be a worthy challenger for Canelo, but like always in his already hall of fame level career, Canelo wants to face the most dangerous fighter of them all.
Newly minted unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) currently holds the distinction as the best fighter in the weight class. At least according to most. Unlike Kovalev, Beterbiev is in the prime of his career.
Questions surrounding just how good Beterbiev was as a fighter were put to bed once he stopped former WBC title holder Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the tenth round of their contest. Now that Canelo now holds a belt in the same weight class, a contest between the two seems inevitable.
During the lead up of Canelo’s contest against Sergey Kovalev, he was posed with the question of whether or not he would be willing to take him on. In true Canelo fashion, he didn’t mince words or back down from a possible showdown.
“I’m ready. Kovalev is better than Beterbiev and we are fighting Kovalev so why wouldn’t we fight Beterbiev?”
Did you expect anything different from Canelo?
He has shown time and time again that he has no issues taking the sort of fights that many believe he shouldn’t. With Canelo holding world titles in multiple weight divisions however, it could be quite some time before we see these two in the ring together.
With that being said, Canelo has always been very fond of making history over and over again. There is no other fighter in any weight class that will provide Canelo with a tougher challenge nor will anyone else allow him to continue to etch his name in the history books, which makes the possibility of this contest happening sooner rather than later.
By: Hans Themistode
It wasn’t easy, but Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is officially a four weight world champion. He accomplished this feat with an 11th round knockout victory over former WBO Light Heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Alvarez worked hard for his newly minted title. The long reach of Kovalev was on display for much of the contest. But like seemingly always, Alvarez adjusted to what his opponent was doing and pulled out the victory.
This now makes Canelo a champion in three separate weight classes. The options he possesses for his next fight are never ending.
Just who exactly should he step into the ring with next? We’ll give you some of his best choices below.
Who thought that a contest between these two would be possible? If you raised your hand, then you obviously haven’t been paying attention.
Canelo is always willing to fight anyone. His introduction into the Light Heavyweight division was a difficult one, but it was a task that many thought he would successfully complete. No matter what division Canelo campaigns in, he always wants to fight the best. That distinction would seem to belong to Beterbiev after successfully unifying titles in his last bout.
This is a no brainer for Canelo. Beterbiev is the new boogieman of the division. This would be a mega fight that everyone would appreciate.
Although technically Charlo now resides two divisions below Alvarez, there is reason to believe that the new Light Heavyweight champion will come back down to his more natural weight class of 160. Waiting for him will be several worthy opponents, but none more than the WBC belt holder Jermall Charlo. There aren’t many fighters in the world who has a legitimate chance of defeating Canelo, Charlo is amongst those few.
This fight hinges on Canelo coming back down in weight, but if he does, Charlo deserves a shot.
If you don’t remember, let me remind you. Canelo currently holds the WBA Super Middleweight “Regular” title after he destroyed former champion Rocky Fielding in 2018. Smith is widely regarded as the best fighter in the division and one of the best in the world as well. He is currently scheduled to defend his WBA “Super” title against John Ryder on the 23rd of November. Provided he gets through that matchup, he should continue his aggressive pursuit of Canelo. Not only would he carry into the ring both a height and reach advantage, but his power seemingly dwarfs that of Canelo as well.
That sounds familiar doesn’t it? Canelo is fresh off his stoppage win over the much bigger Sergey Kovalev and has been fighting much bigger men for the majority of his career.
With Canelo able to fight in so many different divisions, it makes this contest difficult to predict if it will actually come to fruition. However, if Canelo decides to take another fight in the Super Middleweight division, then Callum Smith should get the first crack.
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s DAZN fight card featuring Mexican Superstar Canelo Alvarez facing off against Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev.
Canelo jumped up two weight classes to face Kovalev, and many felt this fight carried a lot of risk for Canelo. The undercard ended before twelve, but executives at DAZN decided to wait until the conclusion of the UFC pay per view main event before starting the fight between Canelo and Kovalev.
Unfortunately for fight fans that meant a long gap in between the co-main event and main event of the evening.
The three national anthems for the evening, the Russian, Mexican, and American anthems, were finally sung at 12:57 AM Eastern Time. Kovalev entered the ring first to a muted response and Canelo entered second to a much more enthusiastic crowd.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.
Sergey Kovalev (34-3) vs. Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Kovalev looks significantly taller than Canelo inside the ring, but Canelo looks to be in incredible shape. Kovalev comes out with his jab and keeps it in the face of Canelo. Canelo is keeping a high and tight guard. Canelo lands a short body shot. Canelo is showing some good head movement. Kovalev’s right hand misses a few times. Canelo misses with a jab. Canelo misses with a two punch combination. Kovalev lands three straight jabs. Good straight right by Kovalev. Kovalev is effective with his reach so far. Canelo ends first round with a short left uppercut, but not enough to win the round.
Kovalev is active with his jab early on. Kovalev gets hit with a glancing left hook. Kovlave lands a few hard jabs in the face of Canelo. Canelo really had good head movement. Kovalev lands a short left hook to the head of Canelo. Canelo lands a short left hook to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev is throwing a large number of punches. Canelo lands a good hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo gets tagged with a check left hook. Kovalev is touching Canelo and moving. Canelo lands a good right counter on Kovalev. Canelo lands a hard jab. Kovalev is outlanding and out throwing Canelo, but Canelo is starting to look more confident.
10-9 Kovalev, 20-18 Kovalev
Kovalev comes out firing his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good jab. Canelo lands a good counter right and follows it with a jab. Kovalev is very active with his jab. Canelo lands a short check left hook. Kovalev is picking his chances to throwing his straight right hand. Canelo lands a good counter left and Kovlaev replies with a counter combination. Canelo is having some difficulty closing the distance against the repetitive jab of Kovalev.
10-9 Kovalev, 30-27 Kovalev
Kovalev comes out the aggressor against Canelo. Kovalev gets moved backward from a left hook by Canelo. Canelo lands a good left hook to the temple of Kovalev. Kovalev has throwing over 100 more jabs than Canelo at this point in the fight. Canelo is beginning to walk Kovalev down, and is able to land a good right to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev lands a good left hook the body of Canelo. Canelo seems focused on landing to the body. Kovalev is a little wary of Canelo’s power but still more active. Closer round.
10-9 Canelo, 39-37 Kovalev.
Kovalev comes out at the start of the fifth round sticking behind his jab. Canelo appears to have an edge in power over Kovalev. Canelo lands a good stiff jab on Kovalev. Canelo lands a heavy left hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo is really starting to dig into his punches. Canelo is pressing the pace and action this round. Kovalev lands a short right but takes a hard shot to the body afterwards. Canelo partially blocks a right uppercut from Kovalev. Kovalev lands two good shots to the body and Canelo goes upstairs with a left hook. Kovalev with another good right to the body. Close round, but Kovalev more active.
10-9 Kovalev, 49-46 Kovalev.
Kovalev is sticking his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo loads up and lands two hooks to the ribs of Kovalev. Canelo lands a short jab. Canelo does not appear to be bothered with the power shots of Kovalev. Canelo lands two more hard shots to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev is unsuccessful in tying up with Canelo. Canelo lands a good pull counter straight right on Kovalev. Canelo lands a good straight right followed by a left hook to the head of Kovalev. Canelo digs in two more hard hooks to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev takes a deep breath near the end of the round.
10-9 Canelo, 58-56 Kovalev
Kovalev paws his jab at the face of Canelo. Kovalev is leading with his left hook. Canelo sticks out a short jab in the face of Kovalev. Canelo lands another sharp jab. Canelo lands a counter left hook. Kovalev unable to tie up with Canelo again. Canelo with another crisp left hook to the body of Kovalev. Canelo lands a short right to the chin of Kovalev. Canelo is bullying Kovalev around the ring. Canelo lands another short straight right hand. Canelo is definitely landing the harder punches on Kovalev. Good two punch combination from Canelo. Good round for Canelo.
10-9 Canelo, 67-66 Kovalev
Kovalev flicking out his jab and lead left hooks to start the round. Canelo lands a good short jab. Canelo landing heavy shots to the body again. Canelo is blocking a lot of Kovalev’s punches. Kovalev is doubling and tripling up his jab. Kovalev ducks under a counter right by Canelo. Kovalev is backing up Canelo around the ring. Some fans are whistling right now. Kovalev has Canelo’s back against the ropes.
10-9 Kovalev, 77-75 Kovalev
They touch gloves at the start of the round. Kovalev doubling up his jab in the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good counter left hook. Kovalev lands a good combination on Canelo upstairs and Canelo answers with a counter to the body. Boos and whistles from the crowd again. Kovalev touches Canelo twice upstairs cleanly. Kovalev lands a good counter right on Canelo, and Canelo lands a left to the body. Canelo lands some good power shots on Kovalev while Kovalev jabs at the face of Canelo. Canelo lands a good right hook to the body then a right to the head of Kovalev. Canelo isn’t throwing enough combinations but is landing some power shots.
10-9 Canelo, 86-85 Kovalev
Lots of close rounds at this point. Canelo looks to be fighting with a little more urgency. Kovalev touching and moving with Canelo. Canelo has Kovalev backed to a corner and lands a good straight right hand. Kovalev eats an over the top right hand. Canelo is moving Kovalev around the ring. Kovalev is throwing a high number of punches but a lot of them are range finding punches. Kovalev jabs to the body. Canelo looks a little frustrated. Some boos from the crowd again.
10-9 Kovalev, 96-94 Kovalev
Canelo starts off round with a good two punch combination. Canelo lands a right uppercut to the body. Canelo looks like he is pressing the pace more this round. Canelo lands a short straight right hand. Canelo tags Kovalev with a right uppercut followed by a right hook. Kovalev circling away from Canelo. Canelo flicks out and lands a jab, and follows it with a whistling left hook. Kovalev lands a good rising left hand. Canelo lands a hard right hand, and Kovalev wraps a right hand around the guard of Canelo. Canelo lands two hard shots to the body. Canelo lands a vicious two punch combination and Kovalev crumbles to the ground.
The referee immediately waives it off as Kovalev is badly hurt.
Canelo ends it in stunning fashion.
Canelo wins the WBO Light Heavyweight Title by KO at 2:15 of the eleventh round.
By: Sean Crose
“Kovalev looks relaxed,” Sergio Mora tells me. “I didn’t expect him to be this big in person.”
If there’s one thing a brief conversation with former WBC junior middleweight champion Mora can convey it’s the fact the guy is personable with a capital “P.” It’s just a few seconds into our talk when it becomes obvious why DAZN picked the Californian up as a broadcaster. He’s a natural talker, one unafraid to let his thoughts and words flow. “It’s been the chance of a lifetime for me,” he says of DAZN, who he’s been with since it’s US debut last year. “It’s really great to be a part of something from the foundation.”
It’s been an interesting year for the 38 year old Mora, and for DAZN, as well. For it was the streaming service that covered Andy Ruiz’ stunning upset of Anthony Joshua last June at Madison Square Garden live. And it was Mora who was right there at ringside as part of the broadcast team when it happened. Now, just a few months later, Mora will be on hand to cover another high level matchup for DAZN, this time in Las Vegas rather than New York.
“This is a huge, calculated risk by Canelo,” he says here in the lead up to Saturday’s bout between boxing’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Still, Mora’s been in the game too long, be it as a broadcaster, a titlist, or as the star of The Contender, to be under any illusions. “We know that Canelo, he’s a 5-1 favorite,” says Mora, adding that “Vegas never loses.” And Mora also has other reasons for thinking Canelo should have the edge walking into Saturday night, as well.
“Only great fighters come back from brutal knockouts,” he says in reference to Kovalev, whose been stopped not once, but twice in the ring. Mora adds, though, that the Russian fighter has “greatness in him.” Mora can also empathize with Kovalev in the sense that neither man has been a star of Canelo’s caliber. “I can relate to what Kovalev is going through, but not Canelo,” he says.
Although Mora knows better than most how surprising the sport of boxing can be, he makes it clear during our brief chat that he wants to be consistently good at his job ringside. “I know when I’m stepping out of line with BK,” he says honestly. Whether it’s in or out of the ring, this is a man who enjoys stepping up his game.
By: Sean Crose
“Have a good fitness coach.”
That’s Bernard Hopkin’s advice for any fighter hoping to move up in weight to attain ring glory. His other piece of advice: “Be yourself. Being yourself got you here.” Hopkins knows that which of he speaks. After making himself undisputed and unquestioned king of the middleweight division, the Philadelphia fighter moved up to light heavyweight and won four or five titles in that division, as well (including the lineal). Now retired, the Golden Boy Promotions power player might be someone Canelo Alvarez should pay attention to. For not only is Canelo moving up to light heavyweight this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Vegas, he’s facing former Hopkins’ foe, WBO champ Sergey Kovalev.
Then again, the likeable Hopkins is very open about the fact that he lost to Kovalev in their 2014 bout. “I would be a bad example,” he says good naturedly. “He has to be aware that he (Kovalev) is the Krusher.” Still, Hopkins is nothing if not a keen study. “You can’t keep your eyes off the guy,” he says of Kovalev. “You can be doing well and get hit with one shot and it changes the game.” Perhaps most importantly, Hopkins believes Canelo should be aware “he’s trying to enter someone’s house,” that house being the light heavyweight division. As for Kovalev? “He’s just waiting with a big shotgun for someone to come in.”
None of this means Hopkins isn’t pulling for his guy to win on Saturday (Canelo is Golden Boy’s star fighter). Hopkins sees Canelo as a protégé who is now set to avenge his loss to the hard hitting Russian. “Revenge is so sweet,” he says, “you know that?” From Hopkin’s perspective, a Canelo victory would be sweet indeed. “I didn’t get you,” Hopkins says hypothetically, “but my protégé got you. My son got you.” No matter how the fight turns out, however, it’s clear Hopkins is in a good place.
“Personally, it’s the fun part that I can sit back and watch,” he says. “I love what I do. I love the sweet science.” There’s a lot to love when interesting matches like this weekend’s come around. “Both guys equally have their own (strong) traits,” says Hopkins of Canelo and Kovalev. “Both of those styles coming together, it’s like pizza and cheese.” It’s clear when talking to Hopkins that he admires the passion both men have for the sport. “Neither of these guys,” he says. “has a surrender bone in their body.”
Although he hasn’t involved himself with either fighter much heading into the weekend (he’s now on the business side of things, after all), Hopkins offers a unique insight into the workings of a major fight. He also offers a humorous take on the fight game. When asked if he has spoken recently to Kovalev, the man long known as B’Hop offers a snappy retort: “All I can say to him is why’d you hit me so hard?”
By: Hans Themistode
Pressure comes with just about everything in a normal everyday life. For professional athletes, that pressure seems to come twice as strong and a lot more often.
Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), will attempt to win another world title in a fourth weight class. It won’t come easy as he will take on WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) in front of his rabid fan base at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo Credit: Sergey Kovalev Twitter Account
With both fighters facing arguably the biggest test of their careers, the question now becomes, who faces the most pressure in this contest?
To be fair, both fighters face pressure, there is a lot on the line for them. Still, the pressure will be extraordinarily higher for one of them. With Canelo jumping up two divisions to make this contest happen, he has received a great deal of respect for it. Boxing has become accustomed to weight jumping. Great fighters from a smaller weight class love to test their abilities against someone who is not only skilled, but also bigger and stronger.
Normally in the case of the smaller man, the pressure is off. Whether he is expected to win or not, he always has the “excuse” of going against a much bigger man. Let’s go back in time and take a look at both sides of the table in which the bigger and smaller man was expected to win.
Roughly 16 years ago, a prime Roy Jones Jr was absolutely running through his competition. Montell Griffin, Virgil Hill and even the great James Tony could do anything against Jones. Growing tired of no one giving him a good fight, Jones moved up to challenge then Heavyweight champion John Ruiz.
It was a contest that Jones was favored to win, but not without a serious fight on his hands. Most oddsmakers at the time of this contest had this bout roughly 2-1 in favor of Jones. By far the closest betting odds in his career up to that point. There was a reason for that. Ruiz may not have been the best Heavyweight in the world, but he still was in fact a Heavyweight. Jones would go on to win but a loss would not have been shocking in the slightest. He faced absolutely no pressure although he was widely regarded as the best fighter in the world at that time.
Let’s take a look at a more recent example.
Four division champion Mikey Garcia made a ton of headlines when he repeatedly called out the now unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. It was a head scratching move. Garcia was always viewed as one of the best fighters out there but was also considered entirely too small for Spence.
Unlike Jones Jr, Garcia was mostly viewed as having virtually no shot at winning the contest. When the two actually met in the ring, it was a mismatch as Spence won every single round. It may have been a one sided contest but rest assured, Spence was the one dealing with the pressure. The thought of the much smaller Garcia taking down arguably the most feared man in the division was unthinkable.
Now let’s fast forward to today.
The storylines surrounding Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev have been the same. The bigger man in Kovalev isn’t quite what he used to be, and nothing other than a victory for the smaller Canelo is to be expected.
Although this might be true to most, it is certainly hard to agree with.
Sergey Kovalev has been a Light Heavyweight champion twice over in his career and at one time was a pound for pound star as well. The argument can easily be made that once retires he will be a hall of famer. Even at the age of 36, Kovalev is still considered by most to be the best at the Light Heavyweight division.
Canelo is a great fighter, and a win for him is to be expected, but for Kovalev, having the advantage in just about every category outside of age, he can’t afford to let his smaller opponent come and make a name for himself in his division courtesy of his own. Many of you probably won’t agree, but the pressure is on Kovalev.
By: Hans Themistode
Fight fans must be drooling on themselves at this point. We are just a few days away from arguably the biggest fight of the year as Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is moving up two weight divisions to take on WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs). Everything is going down at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Canelo comes into this contest with disadvantages in weight, height and reach. Yet, he is perceived as the favorite in this contest. It’s difficult to argue against it as Kovalev just isn’t the same fighter he once was, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get it done Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Main Events Promotions Twitter Account
These are the keys that will lead Kovalev to the upset victory over Canelo Alvarez.
Jab, Jab, Jab and Jab Some More
Canelo is a terrific boxer, he truly is. If we are just looking at them from a boxing standpoint, it isn’t hyperbole to say that Canelo has him beat in that department. With that being said however, Canelo is giving up two inches in reach and a ridiculous four inches in height. In order for Canelo to get his offensive game going he is going to need to get in range.
Although he has great head movement, a consistent jab will frustrate him to no end. Kovalev still has one of the best jabs in the business. In fact, he recently knocked out Anthony Yarde with in his last contest with a jab in the 11th round. If Kovalev can keep that jab pumping all night, it will lead to his biggest victory ever.
Use Those Legs
Canelo Alvarez is almost the perfect fighter at this point. He has great power, excellent timing, impregnable defense and a killer instinct to boot. But the keyword is almost. The one glaring hole in his game is his inability to move. He is still a flat footed fighter.
Plenty of fighters who could move such as Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather have given him trouble. Kovalev already has a reach advantage which will force Canelo to come forward, if the WBO titlist can land his shots and use his legs to move around the ring, it will be a strategy that Canelo has shown that he has no answer for.
Get Back To Being The Krusher
Before Sergey Kovalev stepped into the ring against Andre Ward in back to back contest in 2016 and 2017, he was knocking everyone out. Even in the first contest with Ward, Kovalev managed to score an early knockdown. Since linking up with new trainer Buddy McGirt, Kovalev has turned into more of a boxer rather than the feared puncher he once was.
The change in his approach has made sense and it still does for this contest, but Kovalev needs to somewhat revert back to his old self. Winning a decision over Alvarez isn’t the easiest thing in the world and Canelo does possess one of the best chins in all of boxing, but Kovalev needs to get his attention and discourage him from the very beginning.
By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez (55-1-2, 35 KOs) has never been known as the type of fighter to duck anyone. He’s only 29 years old but his career has spanned 14 years, nearly half his age.
Too many fighters are criticized, and rightly so, for opting to fight lower opposition. Canelo has never had that issue as he has fought just about everyone.
There is a hidden trick in boxing that isn’t so well hidden.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account
Fighters have a tendency of avoiding the best competition. Let’s not cast aspersions on everyone. There are several fighters who not only ask for big fights, but they do there best to make it happen. But make no mistake about it, there are numerous boxers who would like to get an easy payday and face an easy opponent.
Canelo Alvarez however, is a fighter who has always looked to face the best out there.
At the age of 22, facing the likes of future hall of famer Shane Mosley, although past his prime, is never an easy thing to do. Yet, Canelo made it look easy when they matched up. Fights against Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Daniel Jacobs and two matchups against Gennadiy Golovkin has made his resume ridiculous at this point.
Canelo has defeated all of those aforementioned fighters. With hall of famer after hall of famer littered across his resume, Canelo has always rose to the occasion. Well, almost. There is one fighter who simply outclassed him when they met in the ring.
The now retired all time great boxer absolutely schooled Canelo, but to be fair to the Mexican born super star, Mayweather has beaten everyone that has come across his path.
To the credit of Canelo, he has grown into an even better fighter since that loss to Mayweather.
At this point, to name Mayweather the best fighter he has fought in his entire career is obvious. But is Canelo’s November 2nd, opponent Sergey Kovalev, actually the best fighter he will have ever stepped into the ring against?
On the outside looking in, this question would seem like an easy one wouldn’t it? Mayweather is a talent like no other. His boxing ability is second to none. Canelo just couldn’t do anything against him. With that being said however, he did have certain advantages coming into that contest. He was close to 15 years younger than Mayweather and he was also the much bigger man.
For as well as Mayweather boxed, Canelo was in no serious trouble of being knocked out during that contest.
In the case of Kovalev, the WBO Light Heavyweight champion can end the night with one single punch. Kovalev has grown accustomed to knocking out much bigger men. He is also used to taking huge shots from them as well.
At one point he wasn’t just considered the best fighter in the Light Heavyweight division, but he was also a common staple amongst every pound for pound lists. Losses to Andre Ward (twice) and Eleider Alvarez has certainly knocked out off plenty of the shine off Kovalev but if you think he isn’t a dangerous fighter anymore than you are sadly mistaken.
Don’t be confused by Kovalev’s boxing ability either, he is one of the best in that department. Let’s not forget that Kovalev was boxing on par, if not better, than another all time great fighter when they met in back to back contest in Andre Ward.
Everything seems to be clear. Kovalev is a great fighter, but is he the best fighter Canelo has ever faced?
No, although he might be the most dangerous, he isn’t the best. That distinction still belongs to Floyd Mayweather.
By: Henry Deleon
Canelo Alvarez, one of Mexico’s biggest names in boxing, has gained a lot of praise and just as much criticism throughout his career. Many believe him to be P4P the best fighter in the world, while others find him to be a hype job. Like him or not, you have to give him credit for what he has accomplished in the sport of boxing.
Despite only being 29 years old, Canelo Alvarez has had a total of 55 fights, 52 of them wins (35 by K.O), 1 loss to who may have been arguably the best boxer of our era Floyd Mayweather and 2 draws one of which was someone many considered at some point the “boogey man” of the middleweight division Gennadiy Golovkin.
Photo Credit: Henry Deleon
Canelo Alvarez has proven to the world over and over again that he does indeed belong at the pinnacle of the sport. Putting aside whatever emotional feelings you may feel towards the guy, Canelo continues to show countless improvements as an overall fighter each and every time he steps into that ring.
With the exclusion of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo, arguably, has one of the best resumes of all active fighters today. Canelo has faced many top opposition, from Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Danny Jacobs, and GGG twice. Whether you agree that he won these fights or not, you can’t deny the fact that he has proven to be a more improved fighter each and every time. Whether it’s his power, his defense, his ring generalship, punching combinations, his counter punches, Canelo continues to show us a more well-rounded fighter through every new challenge he takes on.
In his two fights with GGG alone, Canelo showed that he was able to box and brawl. He proved to the world that he can take a punch just as much as he can give them. He did what no other person was able to do at that time and that was go blow for blow with GGG.
In the Danny Jacobs fight, Canelo completely dominated and displayed a beautiful performance against another world class fighter. He showcased a series of beautiful counter punching, great timing and outstanding defense, completely outclassing Daniel Jacobs in that fight.
Later, Alvarez moved up a weight class in search of another world title at a different division to face Rocky Fielding. Now many wouldn’t have considered Rocky Fielding to have been much of a threat, but in boxing, there are weight classes for a reason. To move into someone else’s weight class as the smaller guy and completely obliterate them with beautiful body shots, you have to take a moment to recognize Canelo’s skill in this sport.
Many feel that Canelo should be testing himself at the middleweight division with fighters like the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade or even a 3rd fight with GGG but the truth is none of these guys would be able to beat him. Canelo instead is taking on another risk, this time by moving up two weight classes into the light heavy weight division (178 lb.) to face another top fighter Sergey Kovalav. For that reason, it’s hard to say that he is trying to avoid any of these guys at 154 or 160 because if he was, he would probably be fighting guys who wouldn’t poses a threat at all. The truth of the matter is he’s taking on a much bigger threat by moving up to the light heavy weight division and challenging the WBO champion, the heavy hitting Kovalav.
Kovalav is a devastating power puncher with 34 wins, 29 of them by K.O. Canelo will be entering Kovalav’s weight division in where Sergey has fought at his entire career, in where Sergey feels most comfortable and is ranked as one of the top fighters at that division. This isn’t another “Rocky Fielding” Canelo will be fighting. This isn’t a tune up fight with a guy who is ranked 69 or 74 (according to boxrec.com) like Tyrone Spong or Chazz Witherspoon was for Oleksandr Usyk’s Heavyweight debut. This is a fighter in the top 3 at his division with devastating power. Alvarez may possibly be biting off more than he can chew with this fight, but none the less he is “bitting” and attempting to establish his legacy by taking on a challenge like this.
Canelo at 29 years old is a future hall of famer. He’s seeking to establish his legacy as one of the greatest fighters of our time. Fan or not, you have to acknowledge Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and give him credit on this chase for greatness.
Canelo Vs. Kovalav will be taking place on November 2nd live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. You can also watch it live on DAZN.
By: Shane Willoughby
The WBC is seen by many as the most prestigious organisation, every fighter some time in their career wants that green strap. However, with them introducing this franchise belt in the middleweight division, it has raised some sobering thoughts.
When was the last time the WBC champion defended the belt against their mandatory challenger in the Middleweight division? The current WBC champion at 160lbs is Canelo Alvarez who has held the title since defeating Gennady Golovkin last September.
Before that triple G was the WBC champion and held the title since 2016. Golovkin was interim champion before that and was the mandatory challenger for Canelo for a while. Canelo held the full version of the WBC before giving it up in 2016.
So even though triple G was mandatory, he still didn’t get to fight for the champion. Before that Canelo won the WBC Middleweight title in 2015 after defeating Miguel Cotto, however, the title was vacant at the time.
During the entirety of triple G’s rain as WBC champion and the two times, Canelo Alvarez held the title neither one fought a mandatory. According to the WBC rules, the champion has to fight a mandatory once every 12 months.
We have to go back all the way to 2012 when Sergio Martinez who was WBC Diamond champion at the time and became mandatory for Julio Cesar chances jr. That was the last time the WBC champion fought their mandatory challenger.
Since then the title has been vacated, stripped, passed around and now they have decided to create a franchise belt. If the mandatory status wasn’t challenging enough to handle.
Jermall Charlo has been waiting for a shot at Canelo for a while but the chances of him being forced upon Alvarez is gone because Charlo is now regular champion. There were rumours that Canelo would relinquish his title as he did in 2016, but unfortunately not.
Canelo did, however, get stripped of his IBF belt that he won earlier this year, for not fighting mandatory challenger Sergiy Derenvyanchenko. At least there are governing bodies which stick to their rules.
Either way you look at it the WBC need to address the situation in the Middleweight division and hopefully, we don’t have to wait another 7 years before a champion finally decides to fight their mandatory.