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Sergey Kovalev is DANGEROUS for Canelo Alvarez says Badou Jack

Canelo Alvarez

By Barry Holbrook: It’s believed by many fans that WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev was picked by Saul Canelo Alvarez because he’s old, looking passed it and ready to be picked off for an easy belt at 175. Not so fast. Former two division world champion Badou Jack says the 36-year-old Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) is still DANGEROUS, and is punching hard enough to knockout anybody. As such, Kovalev shouldn’t be underestimated in this fight.

In 11 days from now, Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) challenges Kovalev on November 2 on DAZN at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. If this works out well for Canelo, he’ll knockout the former Russian amateur star Kovalev to become a four-division world champion. It could end badly for Canelo if Kovalev catches him with one of his powerful shots.

Kovalev was picked for a reason by Team Canelo says Jack

“Canelo’s people picked Kovalev for a reason. But Kovalev is still dangerous and it’s going to be a really good fight. Kovalev still has power and he’s still winning. Anyone can get caught with a punch and they can’t underestimate Kovalev,” said Badou Jack to “I don’t think Canelo has power as a light heavyweight, but he’s a good boxer and he has to work the inside, because Kovalev’s inside game isn’t the best,” said Jack.

Jack says Canelo picked out Kovalev for a reason. He obviously sees weakness there with him, but this isn’t something new. Canelo has frequently fought guys that were flawed in some way, shape or form. He didn’t fight Gennadiy Golovkin until he was 35-years-old. Sugar Shane Mosley was 41-years-old when Canelo fought him. This wasn’t the prime Mosley that Canelo fought.

Canelo has been good at picking his opponents at the right time 

The same goes for Canelo’s wins over Danny Jacobs, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Kermit Cintron, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara or Carlos Manuel Baldomir. Canelo didn’t fight any of those guys when they were at their best in their mid to late 20s. He fought them when they were older in their 30s, and not quite what they had been during the zenith of their careers.

Is Canelo catching Kovalev at the perfect time?

Kovalev’s best years of his career was from 2011 to 2015. He’s now four years passed his prime, and showing a lot of vulnerability. Canelo is catching Kovalev at the right time in his career, there’s no question about that. What can you do? This is what Canelo wanted.

Canelo could have chosen IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev or WBA champ Dmitry Bivol to fight to try and capture a belt at 175, but he wanted Kovalev for some reason. Is that cherry picking move by Canelo? Yeah, probably, but it’s not different from what he’s been doing during his career. Coming events cast their shadows before.  Beterbiev and Bivol would likely both destroy Canelo and make him look bad. There’s no mystery why Canelo didn’t choose to fight Bivol or Beterbiev for their titles. They’re both too good for Canelo, and neither of them are old.

There’s a difference between cherry picking small guys and selecting larger fighters to try and beat. Despite the fact that Kovalev is not what he once was as a fighter, he’s still the bigger guy, and the harder puncher of the two. Canelo has never fought anyone with the size, power or the mobility of Kovalev.

In 2013, Canelo fought Floyd Mayweather Jr., but by that point in the Money Man’s boxing career, his legs were gone. He no longer had the mobility that he once had. In Kovalev’s case, he’s still highly mobile, and he’s not someone that is just going to let a short guy like the 5’8″ Canelo walk him down to unload with his body shots

Spinks wants Canelo to use his speed against Kovalev

‘’Canelo will have to stick behind his jab and move. He must circle Kovalev and move in and then out and capitalize on the things he’s doing right. Using speed to his advantage,” said former two division world champion Michael Spinks to the WBC.

Whether Canelo can get in range often enough to land his hard shots against the 6-foot Kovalev is the major question. It’s not going to be as easy for the 5’8″ Canelo to get in and get out against Kovalev compared to the stationary Golovkin. Kovalev isn’t the fighter he used to be, but he’s still a highly mobile fighter, who isn’t going to just stand there like a bump on the log and let Canelo walk in and walk out without hitting him with something or moving away.

Kovalev and his trainer Buddy McGirt have a big advantage over Canelo given that they know exactly what he’s going to try and do on November 2. They know full well that Canelo will be attempting to get in close to throw body shots, and they’re going to make that as difficult as possible for him to accomplish that goal. When you’ve got a short guy like Canelo that you’re preparing for, it’s a lot easier than it is when training for a taller fighter.

Canelo’s body shots will be a factor says De La Hoya

 ‘’It’s a calculated and tough risk. Take it from me. I moved up six divisions,” said Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya to “Moving up two is going to be very difficult. Canelo’s body shots are going to be a major factor.”

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya is seeing the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight in a simplistic manner that suggests that he views the Krusher as being the same type of fighter that Rocky Fielding was. It’s obvious that Kovalev isn’t going to back up to the ropes, and let Canelo hit him with body shots the way that Fielding did. Kovalev has actual talent, and he didn’t stumble into winning a WBO title by beating a weak and shot opponent. Fielding won his WBA 168-lb strap in beating the passed his best Tyron Zeuge in July of 2018.

Zeuge was always a shaky champion, who was considered by a lot of boxing fans as a paper champ. Canelo’s decision to face Fielding for a world title at 168 was seen as move to win an easy title against the weakest champion rather than the best. Kovalev is obviously not on the same level as IBF/WBC champion Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) or WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs), but he’s still one of the best at 175. Given all the flawed fighters that Canelo has beaten during his career, he clearly isn’t as good as what boxing fans think he is. If he was, he would have faced the best each time in the prime of their careers instead of catching them while they’re on the decline.

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