Sergey Kovalev faces Eleider Alvarez in rematch on ESPN in 2019
By Jim Dower: ESPN will be picking up the rematch between former World Boxing Organization cruiserweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez after HBO chose not to televise it. Alvarez-Kovalev 2 will be the headliner on ESPN in early 2019.
The date, location and time for the Alvarez vs. Kovalev2 fight have yet to be determined. It’s unclear how much interest from the fans there is in a rematch between these two fighters. Alvarez, 34, is from Haiti and lives in Canada. Alvarez has fought only twice in the U.S during his nine-year pro career in fights against Kovalev and Anatoliy Dudchenko. His name recognition isn’t enough to create much interest from the less hardcore boxing fans in the U.S for a second fight between him and the incredibly more vulnerable Kovalev.
Given the lack of popularity of the two fighters, it’s understandable why HBO opted not to pick it up, as Alvarez is an unknown to the casual boxing fans, and he 35-year-old Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights. Alvarez knocked the aging Kovalev in the 7th round last August in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Alvarez vs. Kovalev 2 will be televised on Top Rank Boxing on ESPN in the first quarter of 2019. Kovalev was ahead of Alvarez at the time of the stoppage in the 7th. Kovalev led by the scorecards by the scores 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56. Alvarez caught Kovalev with a big right hand and proceeded to drop him three times in the round. Alvarez took it easy on Kovalev in the first six rounds, choosing to wait until the midpoint of the fight before he started to unload on him. Avarez did the same thing Andre Ward did in waiting until Kovalev was tired and less dangerous before opening up on him with heavy shots.
The chances are high that Alvarez will knock Kovalev out in the rematch. It’s unclear whether Kovalev goes from there. Does he retire or continue to fight on. Alvarez is a good fighter, but he likely would lose to the other top guys in the division in Dimitry Bivol, Adonis Stevenson and Artur Beterbiev.
It’ll be interesting to see if Top Rank Boxing on ESPN chooses to televise the winner of the Alvarez-Kovalev 2 fights in the future. Alvarez will need to face recognizable fighters like Bivol, Beterbiev or Stevenson for him to bring in good ratings. In other words, Alvarez can’t go back to fighting little known opposition like he’s been doing in the last three years. Alvarez won’t attract interest on ESPN if all he’s going to be doing is padding his record against these fighters: Norbert Dabrowski, Robert Berridge, Isaac Chilemba, Isido Prieto and Anatoliy Dudchenko. Alvarez needs to be fighting quality fighters that the U.S boxing fans can recognize for them to want to bother setting aside time to see him fight on ESPN.
“We are very happy to be joining forces with Top Rank and ESPN for what we expect will be another exciting and historic fight,” Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events said via ESPN.com. “Sergey was clearly winning his first bout with Alvarez when he just got caught. It happens. He [Kolaev] let me know that he is anxious to avenge this loss as soon as possible. We are looking forward to the new year.”