Sergey Kovalev gets his revenge By Nick Phillipowsky at ringside
On Saturday night at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, TX, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev successfully claimed his revenge and regained his WBO Light Heavyweight title that he lost 6 months ago to Eleider “Storm” Alvarez.
The 35-year-old Kovalev (33-3-1-28 KOs) boxed brilliantly and earned a clear unanimous decision, handing Alvarez, 34 (24-1-12 KOs) the first loss of his professional career.
In the build up to the highly anticipated rematch, the Russian native Kovalev was adamant that the first fight was an “accident” and blamed the loss on overtraining. Alvarez, a native of Colombia, was considered the favorite going in to the rematch, and appeared to be highly confident at the pre-fight press conference and weigh in. Unfortunately for Alvarez, it was a highly motivated and disciplined Kovalev that showed up.
The fight started at a very measured pace, with each man landing solid shots. At the end of the first round, it appeared that it would be a tactical bout. In the following round, Kovalev began to show superior boxing technique and the fight began looking like their previous fight. Kovalev began dictating the pace of the fight by establishing a consistent hard jab and excellent movement to take Alvarez out of his game after the first 4 rounds.
Even though Kovalev was clearly in control of the fight, there was always the feeling that he could get caught by fight changing blow. Alvarez had some success in the 6th round and got the better of the exchanges, he landed a few solid right hands that Kovalev took much better than in the first fight. Going in to the latter rounds, Alvarez‘s nose was showing the effects of Kovalev’s relentless jab. The 10th round was arguably Kovalev’s best of the night, he continued boxing effectively and towards the end of the round set up a huge left-right combination that really rocked Alvarez for the first time in the fight. In the championship rounds, Alvarez looked like a beaten fighter, while Kovalev looked surprisingly fresh considering the volume of punches he threw in the fight.
After the final bell, Kovalev raised his hands, seemingly knowing that he is a few minutes away from being three-time light heavyweight champion. Alvarez walked to his corner looking like a defeated fighter. Shortly after, Jimmy Lennon Jr. confirmed what the majority of the 4,877 in attendance already knew, Sergey Kovalev is champion again. The scores were a surprise to some, with two judges scoring the bout much closer than most felt it was. (116-112 Kovalev) and the third judge scoring a shutout (120-108 Kovalev). The final Compubox statistics indicated that Kovalev landed 213 of 816 punches (26 percent) and Alvarez connected with 111 of 369 shots (30 percent).
In the post fight interview, Alvarez was gracious in defeat and offered no excuses. He told the interpreter, “I have no excuses. I know if it went the distance, he would be the favorite so I tried to press the fight. I thought I put on a good performance, but I just did not get the result. I don’t see myself as a loser, but I do give him credit. He went out and proved he wanted to win the fight." Alvarez didn’t indicate what he will look to do next.
Kovalev showed a humble side to himself while giving his post fight remarks. He heaped praise on his newly acquired team, especially the newly elected International Boxing Hall of Famer Buddy McGirt. Kovalev said, "This training camp I had help from my team, Buddy and Teddy. They stopped me from overtraining. I saved my energy and I’m happy. We worked on the jab. Always my jab and right hand. Thank you guys for this.”
As far as what the future holds for Kovalev, he is looking to unify the division. "For me it doesn’t matter. Who’s ready for a unification fight? I’m here to make history for me and my fans. I want to fight the champions in my division.Any fighter who is ready."
Kovalev certainly seemed to be hungry and revitalized, and in my opinion, for the first time since the loss to Ward, the “Krusher” is back.
Teofimo Lopez def. Diego Magdaleno (KO 7)
Oscar Valdez def. Carmine Tommasone(TKO 7)
Richard Commey def. Isa Cheniev (TKO 2)
Bakhram Murtazaliev def. Elvin Ayala (TKO 9)
Patrick Day def. Ismail Illiev (UD)
Jason Sanchez def. Daniel Olea (KO 2)
Enriko Gogokhia def. Vitor Freitas (TKO 3)
Janibek Alimkhanuly def. Steven Martinez (TKO 5)