By Luke Furman
The defeat suffered by Eleider Alvarez at the hands of Sergey Kovalev last Saturday night in Texas took everyone by surprise and in retrospect, it is probably the result of overconfidence on behalf of the Montrealer's team.
Alvarez lost by unanimous decision and lost his WBO light heavyweight belt in a rematch where he was quietly beaten by his opponent's strategy.
Alvarez stood in front of Kovalev and was not shaken once, but he never offered a valid answer to the Russian's attacks. It seemed rather easy for the judges, in these circumstances, to grant Kovalev the victory.
In the first contest in August 2018, Alvarez made it a dog-fight and dropped Kovalev three times to gain a knockout victory in the seventh round.
"Eleider had forgotten who he was, and it's a bit our fault," said his promoter, Yvon Michel, to TVA Sports.
"We were convinced, from the moment [Kovalev] accepted the rematch, that Eleider would be too strong for him, that he would probably send him to the land of dreams after a few rounds. We were convinced of that, his whole team was convinced of it. Finally, Eleider became convinced, so much that he forgot who he was. "
"He managed to win the first time with an incisive jab, speed, with imagination and creativity. In the rematch, he settled down like a brawler who was just thinking about tearing his opponent's head off."
In hindsight, it's good to remember that Alvarez had nevertheless held his end for 12 rounds in a world championship fight.
"He's took a lot of punches, he's never been shaken. He is strong, he is a great aspirant. He may not be a champion anymore, but he is an aspiring contender," Michel said.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org