Earlier this month, Eleider Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) made a huge statement when he knocked out Sergey Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) in seven rounds to capture the WBO world title in Atlantic City.
Alvarez, who most saw as a big underdog, boxed very well in the contest and then closed the show when he dropped Kovalev three times in the seventh round to force the referee stepping in to wave off the fight.
“Everybody in the world thought Kovalev was going to win by knockout,” Alvarez said to Premier Boxing Champions. “After waiting almost three years for this title shot, never in my wildest dreams did I expect the spectacular knockout I got against Kovalev. Now everybody knows Eleider Alvarez and maybe the real reason why (WBC champion) Adonis Stevenson has avoided fighting me.”
During the fight, Kovalev unloaded a full arsenal of heavy punches - with several landing flush on Alvarez, who surprised many with his ability to take the punches.
“Kovalev punches much harder than I do, but I was able to withstand his punches thanks to my sturdy chin,” said Alvarez. “Beating Kovalev the way that I did was a dream come true. I’ve shown the skills, chin and power to withstand anybody.
“The first knockdown was my right hand ‘McIntosh punch’ off a jab, a combination I used as an amateur to knock out an English fighter with that last name. “After dropping Kovalev the first time, I thought he was done, but he got up, and I finished him for good with a series of clean, well-placed combinations.”
Alvarez has been waiting for his world title opportunity for three years. For years, he was unable to secure his crack at WBC champion Adonis Stevenson after winning a final eliminator against Isaac Chilemba in 2015.
Kovalev holds a rematch clause - which he plans to exercise - and Alvarez feels confident of winning the rematch in even better fashion.
“To be promised Stevenson for beating Pascal and it doesn’t happen was upsetting. But it was a gift from God when I finally signed the contract to fight Kovalev,” Alvarez said.
"In a rematch, knowing Kovalev, I would beat him more convincingly."