Canelo vs. Kovalev: Will winner face Beterbiev?
By Barry Holbrook: IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will likely be intently watching this Saturday’s bout between WBO 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev and Saul Canelo Alvarez. Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) has an outside shot at fighting the winner of the contest, especially if it’s Sergey. Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) wants to fight Beterbiev in a unification match if he gets passed Canelo. The Mexican star hasn’t revealed what he intends on doing next if he beats Kovalev on Saturday.
Kovalev getting second billing
Canelo-Kovalev will be shown LIVE on DAZN from the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although Kovalev is the champion in this contest, Canelo is the one getting the top billing. That’s the norm for Canelo, who is called ‘The Face of Boxing’ due to his large following in the United State and nearby Mexico.
It was the same thing we saw when Canelo fought former IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin twice. Canelo got the top billing despite being the challenger.
Fans doubt Canelo will fight Beterbiev
The Mexican star Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is keeping his options open by not revealing what his next move will be if he beats the 36-year-old Kovalev. Fans doubt Canelo will agree to fight Beterbiev in a unification if he beats Kovalev on Saturday. Beterbiev is fighting at a high level, and not showing signs of being old and completely shot. A lot of people see Canelo as a cherry picker for selecting the fading Kovalev rather than Beterbiev. Canelo picked Kovalev rather than Beterbiev or WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol to fight for a belt at 175.
Kovalev has lost 3 out of his last 7 fights, and he was almost stopped by Anthony Yarde last August. While it’s certainly true Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) is in his physical prime at 28, but he’s also inexperienced. Kovalev should have been able to take care of Yarde without any problems, but that wasn’t the case.
It would open a lot of eyes if Canelo agreed to fight Beterbiev. However, it’s not expected that Canelo will do that. There’s too much risk involved for Canelo in fighting Beterbiev, who has a devastating inside game.
Canelo says he’s prepared for Kovalev’s size
“He has long arms, his jab is really strong, and he knows how to move, but we’ve trained for this. He’s my strongest opponent without a doubt and it’s a huge risk for me but we’re ready.” Canelo said to fightnews about Kovalev. “We’re ready for this. We have the intelligence and skill to beat Kovalev and win the fight,”
Beterbiev defeated WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) by a 10th round knockout on October 18 at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia. A lot of boxing fans had Gvozdyk as the favorite going in, but Beterbiev wore him down with body shots to stop him in the 10th. In hindsight, it was a good thing that Beterbiev knocked Gvozdyk out because two of the judges had him trailing. They had Gvozdyk up 87-84 and 86-85 at the time that he stopped Gvozdyk in the 10th
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