Sergey Kovalev is now a three-time light heavyweight world champion, outpointing Eleider Alvarez in their rematch tonight in Texas.
Kovalev won on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 120-108. BLH had it 119-109 and 120-108 for Kovalev.
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) got a measure of revenge for the knockout loss suffered to Alvarez (24-1, 12 KO) last August in Atlantic City, following the instructions of new trainer Buddy McGirt faithfully and putting in a measured performance that saw him outwork and outbox Alvarez, whose game plan was — well, no one can be sure what it was, because he didn’t do much of anything.
The 35-year-old Kovalev started well, but he was up on the cards last time, too, and there was tension into the middle rounds based on whether or not the Russian veteran would fade and leave himself vulnerable to an attack by Alvarez.
But Alvarez, 34, really never got anything going this time, and you have to credit Kovalev’s patience and approach for shutting down the Colombian-born, Montreal-based Alvarez.
It wasn’t exactly a vintage Kovalev performance — in fact, it was far from that — but it was an effective execution of a game plan, and as he gets older, that’s a good sign. He stayed busy with the jab, kept Alvarez tentative, and controlled the fight.
“I have no excuses,” Alvarez said, translated by ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna. “I thought I put on a good performance, but just did not get the result.” He added, “I don’t see myself as a loser tonight, but I do give him credit.”
Kovalev thanked trainer Buddy McGirt for “stopping him” from overtraining, which is what he has blamed for his loss in the first fight. Kovalev said it “doesn’t matter” who he fights next, and said he wants a unification fight, specifically mentioning IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev.
According to CompuBox, Kovalev landed 213 of 816 (26%) of his total punches, and 153 of 425 (36%) power shots. Alvarez landed 111 of 369 (30%) total punches, and 78 of 166 (47%) of his power shots, connecting at a good rate with those power punches, but not throwing enough of them to make a big difference. Kovalev threw 391 jabs, landing 60.