Hearn: Canelo picked the right guy in Kovalev
By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn agrees with Saul Canelo Alvarez’s choice of Sergey Kovalev to go after his WBO light heavyweight champion rather than taking the dangerous lions at 175.
Hearn feels that Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) would have a very tough time against IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterviev, WBA champ Dmitry Bivol and WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Those are considered the BIG Three in the 175-lb division, and Canelo made sure he steered a wide swath around them. Facing one of those guys would be like touching the third rail in the subway. It would be an unpleasant experience for Canelo, and he was wise enough to avoid them.
The only champion at 175 that Canelo has a shot at beating is the 36-year-old Kovalev at this point, and the main reason for that is it’s near the end of his career. So in essence, Canelo is doing with Kovalev what he did with Gennadiy Golovkin in waiting until he was old before fighting him. Beterbiev would be the worst of all for Canelo, because he can fight on the inside better. Canelo would likely get crushed by Beterbiev in a short inside war.
Canelo’s NOT going to move up to fight Beterbiev, Bivol or Gvozdyk says Hearn
“I think it’s quite clever, because in terms of light heavyweights you’d move up to fight, Kovalev is the guy,” said Hearn to Fino Boxing about Saul Canelo Alvarez challenging the old and depleted Kovalev on November 2. “He’s a great guy [Kovalev], but obviously at the end of his career.
“It’s still a dangerous fight, but you’re not going to move up to 175 and fight Bivol, Beterbiev or Gvozdyk. They’re beasts, their fresh, their in their prime, and their very dangerous. Kovalev is still very dangerous, but he is a faded fighter. I think it’s a good move by Canelo, and I see him winning that fight,” said Hearn.
It would be a hugely courageous move on Canelo’s part if he were to stay at 175, and take on Bivol, Beterbiev and Gvozdyk for their titles after he faces Kovalev. It’s just not likely to happen.
Canelo won’t have it easy against Kovalev
“It’s not going to be easy, because I think Kovalev will be up for it,” said Hearn. “I think this is probably his last hoorah. I have no problem with it, and I think from a Matchroom, GGG, DAZN point of view, we didn’t get the fight that we wanted. That was Gennadiy Golovkin, but you can’t knock Canelo’s resume. If he was fighting top 15 guys that you never heard of, you’d be saying, ‘why are you fighting these guys? Why aren’t you fighting GGG.’ But he’s boxed Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev in his 2019 year.
“So I don’t think Canelo ducks anybody, but sometimes he might make decisions, because he doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t want to give him the fight. But as long as he’s fighting A-level guys, you have to respect him, and he’s doing that,” said Hearn.
Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) could be a hard fight for Canelo if the Russian fighter is able to stay on the outside, and use his jab and his quick feet to dominate. Kovalev has suffered three losses in the past, but they were against fighters that were 6’0″, and highly skilled. Canelo is only 5’8″, and he’s not going to be able to reach Kovalev the way Eleider Alvarez and Andre Ward did.
Bivol, Beterbiev and Gvozdyk need to raise their profile
“He [Dmitry Bivol] could make super middle, but he’s a dangerous fighter,” said Hearn. “He’s very, very fresh, and he doesn’t yet have the profile to make that a mega-fight. So he’s one of those guys like Beterbiev and Gvozdyk. They’re brilliant fighters, but you need to raise their profile. And you need to put them in with each other.
“That’s why Beterbiev-Gvozdyk is a good fight. No one has really heard of those guys. So put them in with each other, and make a star. The same with Bivol. Put him in with the winner of that fight. No problem. But Bivol is a brilliant fighter. The last couple of fights, it’s almost like he doesn’t want to take too many chances, but you have to entertain. That’s actually how you get the fights, because the fans start calling that fight on,” said Hearn.
Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) and Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) will be looking to raise their profile this Friday night when they face each other in a unification fight on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The winner of that fight will likely see their stock rise. At that point, Canelo will have no excuse for not wanting to fight one of them. Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) wants to fight the winner of the Beterbiev-Gvozdyk fight. If he can win that fight, then Canelo will have a great opponent to face in the near future.