By Luke Furman
A star was born last Saturday night in Atlantic City, when Eleider Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) pulled off a sensational knockout of Sergey Kovalev to capture the WBO light heavyweight title.
Behind on the scorecards, Alvarez decked Kovalev in the seventh round with a hard right hand and then dropped him two more times for the knockout win.
At the time of the stoppage, Kovalev was leading on the cards with scores of 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56.
After getting off to a great boxing start, Kovalev began to fire hard with both hands in the fourth round.
"Eleider could have started to panic after two or three rounds, but we had studied Kovalev so much [during training camp] in Colombia that it had become instinctive," said Alvarez's trainer, Marc Ramsay, to RDS.
"I remember very well in the first fight between [Jean] Pascal and [Bernard] Hopkins where we saw the carpet slipped from right under our feet after five or six rounds. This time, no one panicked in the corner. Eleider was well prepared because he's never had an easy fight.
"Kovalev was still relatively well organized in the sixth round and we even delayed the moment on when we wanted to start applying more pressure. I never expected [a stoppage] to happen so early, but I did think that it would happen by the tenth round, Kovalev would find that the shots were starting to come in too fast!
"The jab and the length of Kovalev's arms had greatly complicated things. Kovalev is a boxer who likes to use the distance to prepare his shots. He is a much better technician than people can believe. We knew he was going to suffer, but he certainly surprised us from a technical point of view. He was really very complicated.
"We have to remember that it was a major training camp that allowed us to reach a level of physical strength that we never did in the past. The strength of Eleider may have always been a little underestimated for all kinds of good and bad reasons. It is certainly above average and can cause a lot of damage if the opponent is not careful."
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org