Sergey Kovalev a champion again, defeats Eleider Alvarez
By John J. Raspanti
A few weeks ago, Sergey Kovalev said his loss to Eleider Alvarez had been an accident. Saturday night, at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas, Kovalev proved his point by winning a wide unanimous decision and regaining the WBO light heavyweight title.
The scores were 116-112 (twice) and 120-108 for Kovalev who captured a world title for a third time.
Maxboxing judged Kovalev the winner by a 118-110 tally.
In the opening stanza, Kovalev (33-2, 28 KOs) pursued while Alvarez (25-1, 12 KOs) moved to his left. Both fighters tried to use their jabs. Alvarez landed a good body shot near the end of the round. Kovalev opened up with a combination in the second heat. Alvarez was looking to connect with the same blow that ended the first bout, the right hand. So far he was missing. Kovalev was the busier fighter. He scored with a straight right at the bell.
In rounds three and four, Alvarez upped the ante. He stung Kovalev with a jab. Kovalev fired back but missed, but did land seconds later. A right also connected. Kovalev was outworking Alvarez consistently. Alvarez went back to the body. Kovalev strafed Alvarez with a crisp uppercut. The former champion ended the round strongly with a four-punch combo.
Alvarez pushed the pace in round five. Kovalev landed a sweeping right. Alvarez was still looking for something significant but Kovalev cracked him with a right to the noggin. Kovalev also connected with another shot to the ear of Alvarez. In round six, Alvarez finally connected with a huge right. Kovalev looked slightly buzzed, but punched back. He dug to the body of the defending champion. Kovalev was back to working and consistently in round seven. Alvarez winged Kovalev with some solid shots to the midsection. Both fighters landed solid punches in the last seconds of the round.
Alvarez, with swelling under both eyes, came out punching in round eight. Kovalev looked tired, but was still outworking Alvarez. The heavy-handed “Krusher” was winning a boxing match. Kovalev connected with a solid left hook in round nine. He shot his right and moved away. Alvarez clocked Kovalev with an overhand right, but Kovalev took it well. Kovalev feinted and fired away.
Screamed at by his trainer between rounds, Alvarez let fly with a five-punch combo in round 10. Kovalev rode the blows and punched back. Kovalev landed a hard left that knocked Alvarez back into ropes. Alvarez cracked Kovalev with a hard shot to the chin, but Kovalev showed a good chin. Alvarez popped Kovalev with more blows.
Alvarez would need to knock Kovalev out in the last round to keep his title. Kovalev was reminded to stay in control and box. Alvarez stalked and rocked. Kovalev rolled and moved away. He also punched-and went to the body. He connected with a good right. His short, inside shots continued to land. Alvarez smashed him with another right, but again Kovalev fought back effectively.
“This training camp, I take care,” said the victorious Kovalev. “My trainer Buddy McGirt, thank you very much. We were working a lot on my jab. I’m here to make history.”
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank