Canelo Álvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev is an upcoming professional boxing match between Canelo Álvarez and defending WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The fight will take place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada on November 2, 2019.
The art of choosing an opponent is a complex one but Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the Mexican superstar whose every decision has a domino effect on the rest of the sport, has got it right more often than he has got it wrong.
The call to fight him is a lottery ticket that arrives on his terms, not yours. Deal with it.
His great rival Gennadiy Golovkin finally got the opportunity that he wanted at the age of 35 and will never accept the result (a draw) – Canelo won the rematch, and the history books will say that the greatest middleweight rivalry of this generation went his way. Perhaps there will be a trilogy, Canelo will decide.
His selections of dates, cities, titles and weights means the onus is now on Sergey Kovalev to answer the call, but this is a game of Russian roulette unlike any other that Canelo has played.
The Ward rematch removed Kovalev’s fear factor altogether – he was stopped this time, although he claims he was hurt by low blows.
The interpretation of the great bully changed overnight and a third defeat, via knockout to Eleider Alvarez last year, was assumed to be proof that Kovalev was washed-up even though he convincingly won a rematch.
We are still talking about an elite fighter, a knockout artist to rival virtually anybody in the game, who will be boxing a much smaller opponent in Canelo. If this fight happened two or three years ago, who would be the overwhelming favourite?
Perhaps signs of Kovalev’s decline are obvious to Canelo, schooled in being bloodthirsty and opportunistic about a rival since his six older brothers realised that the redhead runt of the litter had something about him.
Kovalev is 36, there are questions about the cleanliness of his lifestyle, he has changed trainers twice in a few years, he might have a problem with body shots and he is just nine weeks removed from a gruelling victory over Britain’s Anthony Yarde. Kovalev stopped the far-less experienced Yarde but took a pummelling in the process and it has been an inconveniently quick turnaround to get back into the ring.
Canelo, of course, knew that. His terms, not yours.
Canelo was once on the wrong side of these tricky negotiations – Floyd Mayweather made him shrink down to an unnaturally low 152 lbs before the only defeat of his 55-fight career. He learned from that and now Canelo is the sheriff in town.
If he pulls off this audacious heist of the 175 lbs gold he will have authority in three weight divisions and the queue to face him in May on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican national holiday which has become a key date in the boxing calendar, will lengthen. He remains the world middleweight champion and could face Golovkin or Demetrius Andrade. Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders await at super-middle, while light-heavyweight’s newest Russian monster Artur Beterbiev will watch this weekend’s fight with interest.
Kovalev vs Canelo in Las Vegas is a fantasy fight, one that would have seemed absurd not so long ago when they were separated by over 20 pounds of muscle but is now reality.