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On Saturday, November 2nd, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the MGM Grand Arena, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will challenge Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev for his WBO Light Heavyweight title. The fight will air on DAZN.
Kovalev comes into this battle with record of 34-3-1 with 29 knockouts, winner of two fights in 2019. Alvarez enters in with a record of 51-1-2 with 35 knockouts, winner of three fights over the past 13 months.
There was a time where Kovalev was thought of as one of the scariest men in all of boxing. Prior to his two fights against Andre Ward, Kovalev was undefeated with one of the highest knockout rates in the sport.
Ward defeated Kovalev twice, scoring a technical knockout in the second bout removing that layer of invincibility that once covered the light heavyweight champion.
If Kovalev is able to defeat Alvarez, he can put himself back into the best pound-for-pound conversation.
Alvarez is right in the middle of the conversation for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world along with Errol Spence Jr, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk and Terence Crawford. A win in this bout could push the pride of Mexico to the top of that list.
The current middleweight king is moving up to the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds for the first time in his career. Alvarez has fought at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds before but not to many boxing fans saw the former welterweight (147 LBs) moving up to light heavyweight.
A win against Kovalev would definitely be a huge notch in the career belt for Alvarez.
Here are the keys to the fight for each fighter.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
1.) Don’t depend on that chin
Alvarez has been in the ring with some of the biggest punchers in all of boxing, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and James Kirkland, just to name a few. Alvarez has never been knocked down in his career which may have given him a false sense of just how good his chin is.
Kovalev’s punches will definitely be a bit heavier than anyone else he has faced considering this is the Mexican’s first fight at light heavyweight.
If he’s too confident in his chin, he could find himself looking up at the ceiling as the referee counts to ten. Alvarez is also the faster and quicker fighter, there is no need for him to take unnecessary punches.
2.) Old habits die hard
Alvarez is one of the few boxers who can lean on the ropes against the best of competition and still have the advantage. He is very comfortable fighting off of the ropes, even scoring knockdowns from that position which is usually to the disadvantage of the boxer.
Against a heavy handed boxer like Kovalev, Alvarez may want to keep this fight in the middle of the ring.
He also needs to take advantage of his youth and speed advantage. The 29-year old should be able to outbox the 36-year old. Kovalev is also a veteran who won’t get tricked into being over aggressive if Alvarez puts his back against the ropes.
3.) Invest early and often
In boxing, investing early means punching to the body. Alvarez is one of the best body punchers in the world, scoring several knockdowns with precisely placed punches to the torso. Kovalev against Ward showed that he may not be able to take sustained punishment to the body.
This may be an effective way to take some of the power out of Kovalev’s punches throughout the fight. If those light heavyweight punches only contain middleweight sting, Alvarez should be victorious.
1.) Be a Light Heavyweight
Kovalev is the bigger man in this bout and should fight like it. Kovalev has fought at the light heavyweight limit for his entire career and should have the strength advantage over Alvarez.
Whenever Alvarez closes the gap during the fight and wants to get on the inside, Kovalev should use his size to push him away. The veteran light heavyweight should also take hold at certain points and just lean on him, make Alvarez feel the weight of him.
2.) This is not dance class
Whenever you go to a dance club, you see people dancing and you can tell who the better dancers are because of their rhythm. Kovalev wants to make Alvarez look like a bad dancer, he cannot allow Alvarez to get in a rhythm.
Kovalev has to use his jab on a consistent basis to make sure that the former welterweight doesn’t get to comfortable. The “Krusher” has to double up on the jab, throw it with power, then at other times just touch him. Kovalev has to make Alvarez think instead of just react.
3.) Conditioning Is Necessary
For most of Kovalev’s career, he’s been able to depend on his power, knowing that at any time he can change the direction of a fight with one punch. Alvarez has proved to have an outstanding chin so Kovalev should go into this bout expecting to go the distance.
Kovalev also has to be ready to move in this bout. He won’t have to chase Alvarez but he should be prepared to be on the move constantly going against a smaller fighter.
This will be a good fight between two very prideful fighters. Kovalev will give Alvarez some issues at the beginning of the fight with his size. Alvarez should turn the tide during the middle rounds with his body work and eventually gain the technical knockout. Alvarez wins by TKO in the 10th round.