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Canelo Alvarez says Sergey Kovalev didn’t want to fight

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Aragon Garcia: It took Saul Canelo Alvarez a little longer than expected for him to defeat WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev because he fought in a disciplined manner and didn’t want to mix it up with him. Canelo, 29, got Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) with a hard body shot that hurt him moments before he finished him with two VICIOUS head shots in the 11th round. This is what happens when a fighter gets old, and loses his aggression.

Most would agree that Kovalev fought to survive, and not to win the fight. Kovalev was out-landed by Canelo in rounds 4 through 10, and not willing to mix it up. There was  chance that Kovalev might have been able to even out and get a draw if he’d won the 11th and 12th rounds. But Canelo stayed patient, and pounced on Kovalev in the 11th round to knock him out.

Canelo took advantage of a mental error Kovalev made when he let himself get trapped near the ropes.

Those to punches knocked Kovalev out. But it was the body shot before those two punches that started the ball rolling.

Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 35 KOs) picked up his fourth division world title on Saturday night with his ‘W’ against Kovalev at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The match was shown on DAZN, but it was delayed until after midnight due to an MMA match taking place.

Canelo: The fight was close because Kovalev was defensive

“We stuck to our game plan, and it was delayed a little bit, but overall it was successful,” Canelo Alvarez said in discussing his win over Kovalev. “It was a close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard. All he was doing was trying to get points, but we knew it would come. Everything came out the way we had planned.”

Kovalev didn’t want to commit to anything as far as power shots go. He just threw WEAK jabs. These weren’t the power jabs that we’d seen from Kovalev in the past. He was just making contact with Canelo, and he looked worried about being countered to the body. At all costs, Kovalev wasn’t going to let Canelo get close enough to land to his midsection.

Kovalev frequently dove in shoulder first to grab Canelo in a clinch. The referee Russell Mora warned Kovalev on two occasions to stop diving in with his shoulder. He should have taken points off from Canelo considering that he was using his shoulder as a battering ram in charging Canelo. The holding was a survival tactic by Kovalev that failed to work, and it annoyed Canelo.

Canelo put up with a lot of holding from Kovalev

Kovalev was looking for timeouts from Canelo’s attacks, and the only thing he could come up with his constant clinching. It looked bad on Kovalev’s part that a fighter with more size than Canelo, more power, and a reputation for being a knockout artist, was reduced to clinching to try and survive.

Canelo says he’s not sure who will be his next opponent for his fight in May 2020. He doesn’t want to fight Gennady Golovkin again unless it makes “business” sense. If DAZN wants to sweeten an offer for a trilogy match with Golovkin, Canelo might entertain the idea of taking that fight. But other than that, Canelo has been there and done that, he has no interest in fighting GGG a third time. He’s also proven that he’s the better fighter in the two fights they’ve had in his opinion.

Kovalev couldn’t take Canelo’s power

It wasn’t the pressure from Canelo that wore Kovalev out in the 11th. That was just Kovalev naturally fading like he always does in the second half of his fights. Canelo’s brutal knockout was a product of him catching Kovalev with three consecutive monster blows in round 11.

The head shots that Canelo was throwing at Kovalev in the 11th was too much for him. Even if Kovalev had survived those shots, he was going to get knocked out sooner or later. Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso came up with a great plan for him to utilize in this fight. It was the ideal plan for Canelo to beat the 36-year-old Kovalev.

For a fighter that was once the best KO artist in the division, he was too tentative tonight. Kovalev fought with no ambition like a guy that had already gotten his big payday, and he wasn’t going to put in the effort to win. He looked frightened of getting hit in return by a much smaller fighter in Canelo. The picture of the fight was a much bigger man being chased around the ring by a smaller guy. It looked wrong, and left a bad imprint in this writer’s mind. How do you run from a guy that is smaller and moving up 2 weight divisions?

Golovkin an option for “business” fight says Canelo

“He’s not really a challenge for me,” Canelo said. “I’ve fought him 24 rounds and he’s not a challenge for me, but if it represents business, why not?”

DAZN is already paying Canelo a lot of money with their 11-fight, $365 million contract they gave. Asking for more money for a third fight with GGG might not work for Canelo. A lot of boxing fans are no longer excited at seeing Canelo and Golovkin fight each other. They’ve already seen the first two Canelo-Golovkin contests, and there’s nothing new that can be explored in a third fight. On top of that, Golovkin is coming off of a controversial 12 round decision win

After the fight, Kovalev sounded internally grateful after having been given the chance to fight the superstar Canelo. One would argue that Kovalev was happy to get the $12.5 million career-high payday for the fight.

“Canelo is a really great champion,” Kovalev said. “Big respect for him. He makes history.”

This isn’t the end for the 36-year-old Kovalev, who said he’s interested in fighting on. He doesn’t say who that would be against, but there’s only two real options for him in IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev or WBA belt holder Dmitry Bivol. A third fight between Kovalev and Jean Pascal would interest boxing fans as well.

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