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Canelo interested in Kovalev fight at 175

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Allan Fox: WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) says he’s interested in facing WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1 28 KOs) after he unifies the 160 lb division.

Canelo could face Kovalev in 2020 if everything goes right with him unifying the 160 lb weight class against IBF champ Danny Jacobs and WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade.

Kovalev will be 36-years-old next year, which is the same age as Gennady Golovkin was when Canelo beat him last September. It would be interesting to see Canelo takes the fight with Kovalev. Hopefully if that fight does take place, we don’t see Alvarez insisting on a catch-weight handicap or a rehydration clause like the one that they have in place for his unification fight against IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs on May 4 on DAZN.

With Canelo not being weighed in on the night of his fights, many boxing fans think he rehydrates into the 180s and 190s. For Canelo to move up to 175 to face Kovalev, it might not be a big deal as far as his weight goes. The height will obviously be an obstacle for the 5’8″ Canelo to face the 6’0″ Kovalev, but he’s just a little taller than 5’11 1/2″ Danny Jacobs, and his reach is is shorter by 1/2″ inch. If Canelo can match up with Jacobs’ size, then he should be able to handle Kovalev’s as well. Jacobs is a guy that could easily fight at super middleweight or even light heavyweight.

Canelo, 28, still has to defeat IBF middleweight champion Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) in their fight on May 4, and then defeat WBO champion Demetrius Andrade for his title to become the unified champion before he can even consider moving up to 175 to fight Kovalev for his World Boxing Organization title.

If Canelo doesn’t choose to face former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this September in a trilogy fight, then he’s expected to take on Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) for his WBO middleweight strap in a unification fight that would have all four 160 lb titles on the line.

“We do not rule out the possibility (of fighting at 175 pounds),” Alvarez said to ESPN Deportes on ‘A los Golpes.’ “At this moment, we have other things [Danny Jacobs] in mind, but the possibility exists. It’s a huge challenge, but it’s the things that I like. I’ve known Kovalev since he was 20-years-old, and why not? We could make a fight, and I like those challenges. There is the possibility of making that fight,” Canelo said about Kovalev.

A victory for Canelo over WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev would make him a four division world champion. Canelo recently became a three division world champion with his third round knockout win over WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on December 15. Canelo has now won world titles at 154, 160 and 168. If he can win the WBO 175 lb title off of Kovalev, that would be a big accomplishment. However, Canelo would still trail his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who won world titles in six weight classes. Floyd Mayweather Jr. also won world titles in six divisions. Manny Pacquiao captured world titles in eight divisions. That is out of this great.

For Canelo to be considering a fight against Kovalev, 35, is speaks volumes about how heavy he must be after he rehyrates for his middleweight fights. Canelo likely wouldn’t be making this move if he was dramatically lighter than Kovalev, who doesn’t rehydrate a great deal for his light heavyweight matches. Kovalev could fight at super middleweight if he wanted to.

What could go wrong for Canelo in fighting Kovalev is the mobility, length and the punching power of the Russian fighter. Kovalev is a lot more mobile than Golovkin, and his game is more complex with what he’s able to do inside the ring. Where Kovalev and GGG are similar is how both limited on the inside. Kovalev isn’t about to stand stationary the way Golovkin was in the second fight with Canelo to allow the Mexican star to hit him with body shots. Kovalev would move away and jab if Canelo presses the attack to try and take the fight to the inside. Kovalev has learned his lesson from his two losses to Andre ‘SOG’ Ward not to let his opponents smother his offense by standing in one place for a long time. Canelo isn’t a wrestler like Ward, so he’s not going to be able to force his way to the inside and keep Kovalev in one place by grappling with him for three minutes of every round. Kovalev’s new trainer Buddy McGirt has done wonders with his game by having him focus on his boxing skills, and keeping him on the outside where he’s able to box his opponents. Kovalev put in a master class performance recently in defeating Eleider Alvarez by a 12 round unanimous decision this month on February 2 to win back his WBO light heavyweight title.

“That is what we intend this year, if everything is settled, if everything goes well in May, is what we intend this year, to be champion of the four organizations,” Canelo said about his goal of unifying the middleweight division by holding the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts.

Golovkin, 36, had tried hard to unify the middleweight division, but he came up short in losing his IBF/WBA/WBC titles to Canelo by a controversial 12 round majority decision last September at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. That was a fight that could have been scored a draw or a win for GGG. He made the decision to fight Canelo in a rematch at the same venue in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada as the one that they fought in their first fight in 2017. Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) was willing to go back to the T-Mobile Arena to fight Canelo a second time despite the huge controversy involved in their first fight, which appeared to have been won by GGG, but the judges scored it as a draw.

Kovalev will be a lot of problems for Canelo if he’s still at the same level as he showed in his recent win over Eleider Alvarez. Kovalev will out-box Canelo if fights the way he did against Eleider.

Canelo beating Kovalev would be a massive win, even though he might not be the best fighter at 175. It would still be a huge accomplishment for Canelo to defeat Kovalev. If Canelo were to stick around and defend the WBO 175 lb title or better yet fight the other champions in the light heavyweight division, that would be a real show of courage on his part. Staying at middleweight is going to limit Canelo’s legacy and earning power, because the guys that are left in the weight class are guys that don’t possess the popularity to be worth fighting. Golovkin is the only popular guy beside Canelo in the 160 lb division. Kovalev ha a lot of boxing fans at light heavyweight. That’s a good fight for Canelo. The super middleweight division isn’t worth it for Canelo to bother with. He did his thing in winning a third division world title in beating WBA World super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding last December. There’s no reason for Canelo to return to that weight class unless a popular fighter emerges in the future for him to take on.

The light heavyweight division has four big fights potentially for Canelo against these guys:

Sergey Kovalev

Dmitry Bivol

Artur Beterbiev

Oleksandr Gvozdyk




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