Canelo Alvarez Strong Betting Favorite Over Sergey Kovalev
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While boxing’s brightest minds may get mired in arguing which fighter deserves to be considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, there should be no doubt among such thinkers that middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez consistently takes the toughest fights.
The latest evidence of this assertion came last week when the long-rumored showdown between Alvarez and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev was announced for Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will be streamed live on DAZN, the global sports streaming network that signed Alvarez 10 months ago to the richest contract in sports history.
Despite making the big jump up from the comfy confines of the 160-pound middleweight limit to the never-before-experienced difficulty of 175 pounds, Alvarez opened early betting action as a significant favorite against Kovalev.
What Makes Canelo Alvarez the Favorite?
An Alvarez win would lay claim for the fighter a legitimate world championship in a third different weight class. Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) has already won titles at junior middleweight and middleweight. Additionally, Alvarez snagged a secondary title at 168 pounds.
That boxing’s biggest superstar this side of aging legends Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao would jump two weight classes to tackle such a dangerous puncher in Kovalev shouldn’t go unnoticed in a boxing world gone mad with the idea that avoiding tough competition is the right move. That just isn’t Alvarez’s style, a fighter who despite having enough popularity behind him to avoid taking such tough fights has consistently over time faced top-level opposition.
Alvarez is such a big favorite because his resume is filled with the kinds of fights against elite competition that have helped him greatly improve over time. Even his 2013 decision loss to Mayweather, a superfight that Alvarez took at the tender age of 23, is something that in retrospect vaulted Alvarez’s game to the next level.
Add to it that he went on to face the likes of Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Gennadiy Golovkin (twice) and Daniel Jacobs, and the result is a fighter whose resume suggests he’s as prepared to make the big jump up from middleweight to light heavyweight as any fighter ever really could be.
Can Sergey Kovalev Pull the Upset?
Despite being such a significant underdog, Kovalev, 36, from Russia, could present an interesting challenge for Alvarez come fight night despite having lost three out of his last six fights.
In fact, a closer inspection of those three losses could end up leaving some bettors out there with enough confidence to back him in the big upset. After all, many believe Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) deserved the nod in his decision loss to Andre Ward in November 2016. Some even think Ward scored the knockout via illegal punches in the return fight seven months later. And the knockout loss to Columbian upstart Eleider Alvarez in August 2018? That loss was wholly avenged earlier this year via 12-round unanimous decision.
Kovalev’s best chance to win the fight will be to keep Alvarez at the end of his longer punches. The Russian has one of the best jabs in boxing, so the more of them he lands against Alvarez early in the fight, the more likely he can pull off the big win.
It won’t be easy though, because as great a jab as Kovalev possesses, Alvarez might be an even better counterpuncher. Moreover, Kovalev’s biggest weakness inside a boxing ring is that he doesn’t weather punches to the body all that well, and Alvarez’s offensive style is heavily focused on pummeling his opponent’s torso.