Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Patience Pays Off With Canelo's KO Of Kovalev

image

LAS VEGAS, NV—Canelo Alvarez exhibited a whole lot of patience on Saturday night.

The Mexican superstar’s WBO light heavyweight title clash with Sergey Kovalev was delayed significantly, as broadcaster DAZN waited for the conclusion of the highly anticipated UFC bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz to conclude. The anticipated ring walk time of 9:20 PM PST came and went, and Canelo snoozed on a couch while wrapped and gloved.

Once he entered the ring, he had a less cozy waiting game to play. Rather than the couch cushions, there were the 10 oz. cushioned left hands of Sergey Kovalev flying at him at an alarming rate, as he attempted to walk the much larger Russian down.

The theory of how Canelo could defeat Kovalev was sound, one shared by both prognosticators and Canelo’s own team alike: Take Kovalev into the later rounds where he’s tired in the past, and eventually you’ll have an opportunity to stop him.

That’s exactly what he did, saving his heaviest pressure and his hardest punches for the 11th round, when he turned Kovalev’s lights out with a left hook, and finished the job with a brutal right hand that nearly sent his opponent’s limp body tumbling through the ropes.

“We had to have patience. We knew we had to have patience. It wasn't the fight that we thought it would be, but in the 11th round, Eddy said to me to close it out, and that's what we did,” said Canelo through a translator at the post-fight press conference. “That’s what worked. Perseverance.”

Despite what the lofty betting odds and suggested game plans might have said, once the two men stepped in the ring, the result was anything but inevitable. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had Canelo winning 96-94, and the other saw the fight even at 95-95. Others watching ringside and at home felt Kovalev should have been ahead—some by a bit, some by a lot.

Kovalev employed the strategy of simply looking to prod and jab his way to victory, a theory that looked quite sound at times. It was perhaps the most calculated version of Kovalev that we’ve seen in his career, perhaps the logical result of three full camps with a master technician like Buddy McGirt, who famously managed to turn boxing’s most notorious risk taker, Arturo Gatti, into a slick jabber for at least one night. By keeping the bout at a measured pace and constantly keeping his jab hand extended, he worked to avoid the two things he’s known to be prone to—body shots and fatigue.

“As I said in past interviews, the intention was to do to the body. It was hard to get to the body. It was unpredictable, but it was a (head shot) that ultimately got the job done,” said Alvarez.

The fight itself was indeed a calculated risk for Canelo, who specifically selected Kovalev as his next opponent, and even waited longer than perhaps his promoter and broadcaster wanted him to (sailing past the September 14 weekend, typically reserved for the year’s biggest fights—specifically those involving Mexican fighters) to ensure he got the matchup he wanted. It would be unfair to criticize Canelo for “hand-picking” an opponent in this instance. For one, all fighters have autonomy in terms of whom and when they fight—there is no set league schedule in prizefighting. In addition, every fighter enters a fight because they believe they can win it. The degree of autonomy over matchmaking and the level of risk one is willing to take is what varies, and is often commensurate with one’s level of talent, sure, but also fame and wealth.

canelo-kovalev-fight (31)

But even if one accepts that Canelo chose what he thought to be the best risk-reward scenario available to him, it was still a challenge few fighters would be willing to take, let alone be able to conquer. Even a faded version of Kovalev was still a Top 3 light heavyweight, and a significantly larger man than Canelo. It’s easy to forget that just three years ago, there were people making arguments for Kovalev being the best fighter on the planet.

After this knockout victory, one can make a very credible argument not that that title could go—but should go—to Canelo. Yes, his claim to holding titles in three weight classes is relatively flimsy, depending on what esteem you hold the WBA super middleweight title he snatched from Rocky Fielding in. But even if that fight never happened, Canelo is still the legitimate middleweight champion who can now call himself a Top 3 light heavyweight as well. The concept of pound for pound rankings is supposed to be somewhat mythical, inducing and theoretically solving arguments like “what if (insert fighter) were the same fighter but 15 pounds heavier?”

Canelo removed the mystery and actually did it. All things considered, it may be the most impressive result of his already storied career. Throughout his tenure he has taken on an incredibly tough roster of opponents. However, in his toughest matchups on paper, he historically has pulled out a decision victory—see: Golovkin, Jacobs, Cotto, Trout. His highlight reel KOs have typically come in bouts he was heavily favored in—see: Khan, Kirkland, Baldomir.

On Saturday, it all came together--Canelo saved perhaps his most devastating finish fort his toughest physical test.

"I don't really care if they think I'm the best pound for pound. I care about making history," said Canelo. "Obviously we want to continue making history, and now I have to figure out what crazy idea Eddy comes up with. But we're ready for anything."

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by RomanReigns on 07-28-2020

Watching the fight again. Great performance by Canelo.

Comment by Metacom on 11-05-2019

[QUOTE=skinnystev;20166944]to think that at one time he was known as the Krusher and actually killed a man in the ring[/QUOTE] To think there's proclaimed boxing fans that doesn't realize this was a staged fight

Comment by Metacom on 11-05-2019

[QUOTE=william_ni;20166752]I haven't seen any of the other threads re this fight, but after watching yesterday, am I the only one who suspects the whole thing was a staged, scripted farce? Did Kovalev throw a single punch with any clear sign…

Comment by hitmanjosh on 11-05-2019

why haven't we seen any score cards of the fight, even with it ending early we still need to know because it was quite boring before the ko anyhow!

Comment by pretty ste on 11-05-2019

I can't fathom how people think kovalev was ahead that's insane

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (41)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Jacob Ng Aims To Win Big on Dec. 11 To Continue March To World Title Frank Warren: Joe Joyce in For a Big 2021, Dubois Still Has Huge Future Claressa Shields Feels Boxing is Sexist, Influenced Move To Explore MMA News: John Bauza, Tommy Frank, Ty Payne, Stephanie Chavez, More Martin Murray - So Close, Yet So Far Buster Douglas Very Willing To Face Mike Tyson in Exhibition Rematch Brandon Adams, Duversonne - Ready For Ring City Clash Dennis Hogan Hopes To Face Julian Williams in Early 2021 Angel Garcia: I Think Danny's Gonna Knock Out Spence In The Seventh Round Errol Spence, Danny Garcia - Face-Off at Final Presser Jazza Dickens Decisions Ryan Walsh - Wins Golden Contract Ricards Bolotniks Beats Down, Stops Serge Michel in Tenth - Wins Golden Contract Edgar Berlanga is Motivated To End The Year in Style Billy Joe Saunders Admits Poor Diet May Cost Him Big One Day Hafthor Bjornsson vs. Steven Ward Exhibition on January 16 Sebastian Fundora-Habib Ahmed Set, Jorge Cota Positive For COVID-19 Derek Chisora To Return in March or April, Says Hearn Jarrell Miller Issued 24-Month Suspension By Nevada Commission For Drug Testing Violation Billy Joe Saunders, Martin Murray - Face-Off at Final Presser BoxingScene.com's Television Pick of The Week - December 2 Murray: If I Fought People Saunders Fought - I'd Have a World Title Frank Warren Fires Off at Eddie Hearn Over Dubois Comments Joshua-Pulev Heavyweight Title Fight To Take Place With Fans In Attendance Danny Garcia Wants To Help Boxers Manage Finances After Career Spence: A Tune-Up Fight Wasn’t Gonna Answer Questions That Need To Be Answered Julio Cesar Martinez vs. Francisco Rodriguez Set For Canelo-Callum Smith Bill Brian Ceballo Eager To Face Bigger Names in 2021 AIBA Has More To Prove To Show Capability of Running Olympic Boxing Again Mike Tyson Smoked Weed Before & After Roy Jones Fight, All Throughout Training Camp Anthony Joshua: The Longer I Wait For Fury, The Better Prepared I'll Be James Tennyson Focused, Not Taking Josh O'Reilly Lightly Director Drath Strikes Documentary Gold With "Macho Camacho" Tale Joshua: Fury Never Drew Large Stadium Crowds - He Needs Me To Do So! Povetkin's Promoter: Decision Soon on Whether or Not Whyte Rematch Lands in January Emmanuel Rodriguez Believes Age Will Be Factor in Nonito Donaire Fight Anthony Joshua Defends Daniel Dubois, Hits Back at 'Quitter' Attacks Beibut Shumenov vs. Ryad Merhy is Ordered By WBA Amanda Serrano Set For December 17 Ring Return In Hollywood Billy Joe Saunders Putting in Work For Martin Murray Clash Sebastian Fundora: I Hope Jorge Cota Brings His A-Game
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement