COBBLED together a couple of takeaways from the Saul Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev tiff from last week, which was good fight-of- the year contender:
1. At the time of the stoppage in the 11th, this Last Rounder had Kovalev ahead by two points, but two judges had it 96-94 for Alvarez while the third had it tied at 95-95. Afterwards, I learned that some of the online boxing media also had Kovalev marginally ahead. Of course, it was a good, close fight up to that point, but this seems to lend some validity to the impression of some that Canelo will always be a boxing judge’s darling, taking into context his two close fights against Gennady Golovkin.
2. Alvarez has achieved only a select few were able to do before and he did it in spectacular, dramatic fashion. At the onset, he clearly had trouble pushing forward with Kovalev’s jab constantly in his face. But he was remarkably patient, stuck to his gameplan and pulled off the knockout in the 11th round. Up to that point, the fight was still up for grabs. This is a hallmark of a fighter’s greatness--ring generalship and composure.
3. Kovalev clearly ran out of gas. He was having success keeping Canelo at bay and was very busy with his jab. But the frenetic pace eventually caught up with him and I saw him tire by the ninth round. His punches were losing their snap and his movements getting more laborious. It was only a matter of time before Canelo would land something huge and hurtful and he did.
4. I’ve written about this before, but I guess it’s worth mentioning again. Some losses do take a lot out of some fighters and Kovalev lost a lot in those two Andre Ward setbacks. Kovalev’s air of menacing invincibility was stripped away by Ward and he was never the same fighter again. Another example that easily comes to mind was Fernando Vargas-Tito Trinidad. After that brutal encounter, the “Ferocious One” truly lost some of his ferocity and feral approach and his career took a downward turn.
If they had fought a couple of years ago, perhaps Kovalev would have walked through Canelo, but then again, this fight would probably not have taken place at all if Kovalev was still that undefeated brute at the light heavyweight division.
5. I predicted Canelo to win via close decision, primarily because Kovalev was not the fighter he once was. He was never the most skilled, and certainly not the fastest, but there was a reason for the ring moniker “Krusher.” Sadly, that fighter is long gone.
6. Alvarez looked strong and sharp in the 175lb division despite being the smaller fighter moving up. But how will he fare against the other huge, young light heavyweight champions such as Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15KOs), Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14KOs) and even Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11KOs).?
Being younger fighters, Canelo would have a ton of experience on them, but the size advantage is still a crucial factor with these monsters at this division.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my sis-in-law, Atty. Renelda Chanco, who marks a milestone in her life today as she turns 50. Take a bow Ren, and thank you for everything that you do for everyone around you. Cheers!