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Canelo vs. Kovalev possible for December says Arum

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Barry Holbrook: Bob Arum of Top Rank says Sergey Kovalev and Saul Canelo Alvarez could be fighting in December, as long as Sergey successfully defends his WBO light heavyweight title against mandatory Anthony Yarde on August 24 in Russia on ESPN. The Kovalev vs. Yarde fight is on, says Arum.

The announcement for the Kovalev-Yarde fight still needs to be made by Kovalev’s main promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events, and Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren. Arum wonders why those two haven’t formally announced the Kovalev vs. Yarde on August 24 fight already.

Arum attempted to put together a fight between middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) and Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) for September 14, but he was unable to get a deal made. Kovalev’s WBO 175 pound mandatory Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) would have received a step aside payment so that the bigger fight between Canelo and Kovalev could take place. However, there wasn’t enough time to put together the fight, so Kovalev will go ahead and defend against Yarde on the 24th of August in Russia. Assuming everything turns out well for Kovalev, 36, against the big punching Yarde, then negotiations will restart for the Canelo-Kovalev match for a mega-fight in December.

Kovalev vs. Yarde is on for August 24

“We’re the co-promoter of Kovalev. Kathy Duva is the main promoter. She’s been with Kovalev most of his career,” said Bob Arum to IFL TV. “The fight with Yarde in Russia is on. The deposit has been put up to ensure everybody the fight will happen. August 24 is the date. Yarde is a tremendous puncher. Whether he can deal with the experience, boxing ability and punching power of Kovalev remains to be seen,” said Arum.

For most knowledgeable boxing fans, Kovalev will have far too much talent and experience for the 27-year-old Yarde. The British fighter has yet to face his first quality opponent during his four-year pro career, and this is going to be a MAJOR step up for him. It’s too bad Yarde’s promoter didn’t match him against a credible opponent to get him some experience before putting him in with someone like Marcus Browne, Eleider Alvarez, Jesse Hart, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Joe Smith Jr. or Callum Johnson.

Yarde should have fought at least one of those guys. Instead, he’s going into the Kovalev fight with his best career wins coming against Darius Sek, Tony Averlant, Nikola Sjekloca and Travis Reeves. Yarde’s experience level is embarrassingly bad for an undefeated mandatory challenger. But it’s likely that Yarde would have lost if he had fought someone good. He’s looked fragile against some of the lesser fighters that he’s fought. Of a lot of boxing fans think Yarde doesn’t fancy the Kovalev fight, and will drop out with an excuse at some point during training camp. We’ll have to see if Yarde does go through with it. All we know is Yarde has never fought any of talented contenders at 175 during his career for some reason.

Canelo vs. Kovalev possible for end of 2019 says Arum

“If Kovalev is successful with the fight, we’re now planning the possibility of having Kovalev fight Canelo at the end of 2019,” said Arum. “Time has moved on. We haven’t finalized a fight with Canelo, so that’s put for September. The step aside [that would have been given to Yarde], that’s out. If Yarde wants a chance to be champion, he has it against Kovalev at the end of August. I’m surprised that Kathy and Frank [Warren] haven’t announced formally the fight,” said Arum.

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