The cat was out of the bag a couple of days ago, and now it’s officially official: Canelo Alvarez will move up to light heavyweight on Nov. 2, facing veteran titleholder Sergey Kovalev for Kovalev’s WBO belt at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The fight will stream live on DAZN in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Japan.
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KO) last fought on May 4, outpointing Daniel Jacobs in a fight where the Mexican superstar unified three of the four world titles at 160 pounds. But Canelo’s goal of fully unifying the division hit the predictable boxing politics roadblocks, as he was “elevated” to “franchise champion” by the WBC, something they made up one boring afternoon, and has also been stripped of the IBF title after what Golden Boy claim were bad faith negotiations from mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
So with undisputed at 160 simply not on the table at the moment for Canelo, a bold move up in weight made it to the table, and here we are with Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KO), who at 36 is without question past his prime, but will have significant height and just natural size on his side. Kovalev is a career light heavyweight, while Alvarez has fought twice over 160 — a 164-pound catchweight win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and a 168-pound win over Rocky Fielding.
Both of those fights were calculated risks, carefully chosen. Will it be the same with Kovalev? You have to think Golden Boy and Canelo believe so, but Kovalev, who just fought on Aug. 24, beating Anthony Yarde in Russia, may have other plans.
“In order to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kovalev said. “I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on Nov. 2.”
“We promised to make this fight happen, and now we are delivering it,” said Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. “Historic fights have been a hallmark of this company, and we are pleased to once again live up to the high expectations we’ve set for our fans. The best pound-for-pound fighter is also boxing’s biggest star. Few fighters in boxing’s history can claim to be both like Canelo Alvarez. Now, he’ll look to become a four-division world champion against one of the most dangerous fighters of recent years, and I’m certain that he will stop him.”
“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”
”Canelo is to be praised for asking to challenge Sergey Kovalev,” said Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva. ”Win or lose, he will make history and Sergey is extremely pleased to get the chance to test his mettle against another future Hall of Famer.”
Who are you liking in this one from the jump here? Do you think Kovalev will prove a bit too big and not as easily handled as the listless Chavez and simply overmatched Fielding, or is Alvarez taking him at the right time?