In what is set to be the biggest and most tantalising boxing match on American soil this year, one of the best pound-for-pound pugilists in the sport, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, will jump two divisions ad 15lbs to take on Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev in the light heavyweight division on November 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Canelo continues to reiterate that he wants to leave a historical mark on the sport and, to do so, he needs to take on major challenges. He’s not been fooled into thinking that fighting Kovalev will be easy, he knows full well that the Russian is bigger, stronger, and a technically very good boxer, but as his adversary has stated, the Mexican has nothing to lose by taking this bout.
Kovalev knows that only he stands to lose
At 34-3-1, WBO World light heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev is one of the most high-profile boxers in the sport, with his next bout marking his 17th consecutive title fight in the division. The only blemishes on his record are his two losses to Andre Ward – the first of which was dubiously ruled a unanimous decision win in favor of Ward – and a loss to Eleider Alvarez, which Kovalev rectified six months later.
Krusher is a smart fighter, knows the appeal that comes with fighting the much smaller Saul Alvarez, but also recognizes that the only one who stands to lose in this fight is himself. In a conference call, Kovalev stated: “He has nothing to lose, you know. If I lose, I lose more than Canelo.”
Not only does this stand to reason on the belts-front, with only Kovalev’s title on the line, but also in regards to the history. If Kovalev loses, he’ll go down as the light heavyweight champion who lost to a middleweight, cementing Alvarez’s legacy as one of the all-time greats. If the Mexican loses, however, people will give him credit for trying, and he’ll go back to a lower division to fight for other titles.
As it stands, the experts are expecting Kovalev to become the one who allows the walls of the light heavyweight division to be breached by the middleweight star. In the Canelo vs Kovalev odds, Alvarez to win on points or by a decision is at 10/11, with Kovalev at 11/2 to win by knockout or technical knockout, despite being bigger and more powerful.
Canelo has other options if the experiment fails
With belts in the super middleweight, middleweight, and super welterweight divisions, Alvarez has already made his mark as a phenomenal boxer, with his only loss coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr by way of a mixed decision. His appeal in the USA, in his native Mexico, and across the world is so great that he landed a record $365 million, ten-fight deal with DAZN in 2018.
He has the money coming in, he has a legacy that won’t be besmirched by his next fight, and he has many options lined up. If Canelo defeats Kovalev, he could well stay in the light heavyweight division and see if he can contend with any of the other very talented champions in Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, or Oleksandr Gvozdyk. He could even try to whip-up a hype storm and combine his ever-passionate and massive Mexican fan base with the Chinese market by taking on the 16-0-0 Chinaman Fanlong Meng.
While going up to cruiserweight and around 200lbs seems out of reach for the 5’8’’ Mexican, returning to his usual stomping ground looks to be very lucrative in the instance of a loss to Kovalev. He’s declined a trilogy fight with Golovkin in the past, but recently he did say that Canelo vs Golovkin III could happen if they offer him “something really good.”