Tonight at 10 pm ET on HBO, it’s a world title doubleheader in the light heavyweight division, with Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol making defenses in Atlantic City.
In the main event, Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KO) faces top contender Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KO). It’s the first serious challenge Kovalev has faced since his back-to-back losses to Andre Ward in 2016-17, though he’s won two straight since then. Alvarez is getting his first world title shot, after spending a long time as Adonis Stevenson’s WBC mandatory.
In the co-feature, Bivol (13-0, 11 KO) takes on veteran Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2, 10 KO) in another 12-round bout. Bivol will be defending the WBA “world” title, but more importantly if he wins as expected, it’s anticipated that he’ll face the Kovalev-Alvarez winner in a big fight either late this year or in early 2019.
Wil Esco will be on the round-by-round call tonight. Join us!
- ELEIDER ALVAREZ def. SERGEY KOVALEV by TKO (2:45 of Round 7)
- DMITRY BIVOL def. ISAAC CHILEMBA by UD (120-108, 120-108, 116-112)
ROUND BY ROUND
SERGEY KOVALEV vs ELEIDER ALVAREZ
Round 1: Kovalev comes out fast with a big feint, trying to intimidate Alvarez. Alvarez tries a right hand to the body that doesn’t land clean. Now Kovalev lands a right hand to the body that backs Alvarez up. Hard right hand to the body lands for Alvarez, Alvarez returns the favor! Kovalev jabs downstairs, upstairs, downstairs and then Alvarez interrupts with a jab to the body of his own. More jabs to the body come from Kovalev and then the fighters get into a clinch with Alvarez tapping the back of Kovalev’s head. Close round but I just feel like Kovalev was a little more in control of the action. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 2: Kovalev tries to lands a lead left hook but can’t find the target. Kovalev goes back to his long jab with better success. Now Alvarez lands a jab upstairs. One-two lands for Alvarez! Alvarez is finding contact now! Kovalev backs Alvarez to the ropes strafes him with a hook. Now Alvarez lands a nice left hook to the body in a short combination. Much better work from Alvarez in this round. Check hook lands for Alvarez with his back on the ropes. Alvarez ties up Kovalev and nearly tackles him over the top rope! Wow. Alvarez wins the round 10-9, 19-19.
Round 3: Alvarez tries to shot hooks to the body on the inside. Kovalev ties to come straight forward and land some power and gets in a good combination. Kovalev leads with hooks to the boy and head but Alvarez sneaks in a sharp jab that snaps Kovalev’s head back. Kovalev throws to the body and is outworking Alvarez in this round. Alvarez continues to look for counter opportunities and is having some success sneaking in hard shots off of Kovalev’s forward momentum. I think Kovalev still edges it with activity. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 4: Alvarez’s game plan is to lay back and ambush Kovalev with sharp counter punches but it’s allowing Kovalev to throw a lot of punches. Kovalev lets go a flurry that Alvarez wasn’t prepared for! Alvarez is stunned! Kovalev is letting go both hands and tagging Alvarez with hard shots! Kovalev lands a hook to the body and then the head. Alvarez might’ve survived a dangerous moment right here because he was under serious pressure! Right hand lands for Alvarez at the bell. Kovalev 10-9, 39-37.
Round 5: Alvarez starts with a jab to the body. Alvarez throws a quick flurry to the body of Kovalev. Both fighters posture for a good 30 seconds straight and then trade two punches. Kovalev presses forward with a jab that falls short. Alvarez throws two hooks but Kovalev gets in one himself. Kovalev lands a good right hand. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 6: Kovalev comes out and tries to get Alvarez back along the ropes. Alvarez lands a good jab as he gets back to center ring. Kovalev gets in a shot back and Alvarez is bleeding under his left eye. Alvarez still takes an opportunity to touch Kovalev’s body. Right hand lands for Kovalev. Right hand to the body now lands for Kovalev. Two more shots sting Alvarez just before the bell. Kovalev 10-9, 59-55.
Round 7: Replay shows Alvarez’s cut came from an accidental head clash. Both fighters exchange but neither lands too well. Now Kovalev gets in an overhand right. Alvarez tries a huge right hook that misses but he looks like he’s made a decision to try for a knockout. Alvarez is comeing forward now and is walking onto some of Kovalev’s straight shots. Big shot from Alvarez floors Kovalev!! Kovalev looks shocked! Kovalev beats the count and Alavarez is going on the attack! Alvarez is hitting Kovalev with good shots and drops him again with a left hook! Kovalev is up but he’s hurt!!! Overhand right from Alvarez puts Kovalev down again! It’s over! ALVAREZ TKO-7!
DMITRY BIVOL vs ISAAC CHILEMBA
Round 1: Bivol takes center ring and postures as if he’s the boss. Bivol strikes Chilemba with several hard shots which puts Chilemba under pressure early. Bivol is feinting with Chilemba along the ropes, knowing he just has to line up his power punches. Now Bivol lets go a combination that crashes on Chilemba’s body and head. Chilemba just loojs like he’s under duress with his body language. Chilemba tries to rip to the body and gets in a shot with his left hand. Bivol steps back foward and tries a lead left uppercut that just misses. Bivol controlled the action easily. Bivol 10-9.
Round 2: Chilemba comes out measuring with his jab defensively, but Bivols gets in a counter shot, steps over, and strikes Chilemba some more with all out assault! Chilemba is taking some real hard shots early in this fight. Chilemba tries to flick a jab to break Bivol’s attention and break up his momentum but Bivol gets in a hard left uppercut to the body. The fight turns back to more of a boxing match for the final 30 seconds and Bivol is still in control. Bivol 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Both fighters trade jabs but Bivol’s lands first. Chilemba throws another one trying to stall Bivol’s offense. Bivol measures, touches Chilemba a couple of times but the fighters get tangled up, forcing a break. Bivol throws a hard jab that lands to the body and then the fighters exchange, both barely missing. Bivol leads with two lefts to the body, pushing Chilemba back to the ropes. The fighters mix it up but Bivol is getting in the better punches. Bivol, 10-9.
Round 4: Bivol comes out pressuring but not over-committing, keeping his bounce knowing that Chilemba is looking to land a big counter. Bivol measures a big lead left hook to the head! Chilemba backing up and really defensive. Looks to me like he’s already made a decision to try to survive this fight more than win it. Bivol lands another lead left hook but Chilemba partially blocks it. Bivol 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Bivol doing more of the same, pressuring Chilemba at center ring but still fighting in patient style, not looking to force it too much offensively. The fighters trade jabs but Bivol follows it up but throwing three more in rapid succession. Another Jab lands for Bivol. Chilemba is taking Bivol’s punches pretty well, to be honest. He hasn’t looked really hurt at any point thus far and Bivol has landed some good shots. Bivol still in control. Bivol, 10-9.
Round 6: Chilemba’s trainer, Roy Jones Jr., tells his fighter that now is the time to start picking it up and fighting a little more. Bivol comes out and lands a jab and an overhand right, pushing Chilemba to the opposite side of the ring. Both fighters trade combinations but neither land much clean. Big right cross lands for Bivol who is now dialing-in on the distance he wants. Bivol 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Bivol lands a sneaky right hand counter, then another one as Chilemba tries to throw a couple to the body. Chilemba is trying to mix it up a little more, probably knowing he’s down on points in the fight, but he’s willing to do so. Now Chilemba is coming forward and throwing some shots but Bivol just skates from side to side using his lateral footwork to evade any danger. Jab lands for Bivol. Chilemba tries a right hook but Bivol catches it rather easily. Bivol 10-9.
Round 8: Chilemba tries a hook that gets blocked. Bivol lands a jab to the body. Another hard jab lands for Bivol, then another one shortly after. Bivol is just too well-rounded and refined for someone like Chilemba. The crowd starts to boo a little now as this fight settles into a long range jab fest that gets a little dull. Bivol, 10-9, 80-72.
Round 9: Chilemba comes out with some probing jabs that find all air. Bivol lands a left hook but fails to follow it up with anything significant. Bivol lands a jab and then a follow up right. Bivol seems to be content to just fight so reasonably that he’s not looking to force a stoppage, but Bivol is still winning the rounds. Bivol, 10-9.
Round 10: Chilemba tries a jab and right hand but can’t find the mark. Now Bivol tries to respond with a combination and at least makes body contact. Jab lands for Bivol. Bivol is keeping his distance but both manage to momentarily get into a dust up but not much damage done on either side. Jab, left hook lands for Bivol. Bivol 10-9, 100-90.
Round 11: Chilemba tries to lead with something but takes a counter jab in return. Chilemba tries to double up to the body but Bivol steps out of range. Bivol fighting behind his jab an is using a lot of lateral movement these past few rounds. The action has really slowed down in this fight and I suspect t’s because Bivol made a decision a couple rounds ago to coast this one out. Bivol is winning rounds but it hasn’t really been all that impressive. Bivol 10-9.
Round 12: Chilemba comes forward and thows somes shots to the body and head but they don’t really land. Bivol jabs. Bivol has stopped coming forward like he was early in this fight and he hasn’t really take a big shot to dissuade him. Either way, Bivol is outboxing Chilemba because even when he goes on an offensive lull his defense keeps him from taking any punishment himself. Bivol 10-9. I’ve got it a shutout for Bivol, 120-108.