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Kovalev vows to “STOP” Canelo’s 175 ideas

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By Robert Addams: Sergey Kovalev plans on ending Saul Canelo Alvarez’s goal of taking over the light heavyweight division on Saturday night. Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) wants to enhance his boxing legacy by winning his 4th division world title at the expense of WBO 175-lb champion Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If successful, Canelo is hinting that he might next go after IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev in hopes of winning two additional belts at 175. Kovalev, 36, says he’s not going to let Canelo realize his dreams by making sure he beats him.

It won’t be easy for Kovalev to beat Canelo because he’s fighting him in Las Vegas, and he hasn’t lost in that city since his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013. Over the years, Canelo has been involved in four controversial decision fights in Las Vegas against the following fighters:

  • Gennadiy Golovkin – 2017 and 2018
  • Erislandy Lara
  • Miguel Cotto

Canelo also won a controversial decision over Austin Trout in 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. Being the Face of Boxing,’ Canelo tends to have close decisions go his way.

Canelo is a BIG favorite

The odds-makers have Canelo the favorite by the line -380, while Kovalev is the underdog at +320, according to

The odds-makers see what everyone has saw recently of a struggling 36-year-old Kovalev, who has a 4-3 record in his last 7 fights. Kovalev is fortunate that he didn’t lose his last fight against Anthony Yarde because that was a fight that looked like it should have been stopped in round 8.

Yarde was battering a terribly hurt Kovalev at will with shots, and he was virtually defenseless. Some in the boxing world believe that if the fight hadn’t taken place in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, the fight would have been stopped.

Canelo, 5’8″, isn’t as tall or as powerful as Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), so it’s possible that Kovalev will be able to take his best shots without getting hurt.

Kovalev plans on stopping Canelo’s dream of taking over 175-lb division

“He’s dangerous, and he has everything,” said Kovalev about Canelo. “Stamina, speed IQ, counter punches and attack punches. I think he’s dangerous. And I want to fight 100 percent, and never step back. I want to make this a dangerous fight for him, and stop his idea to take the light heavyweight division. No, I don’t need a knockout, because when you try for a knockout, you can’t do it because you lose your technique for the fight. I don’t care about judges because judges are judges.

“They will give their decisions. But what’s important to me is the fans will know after the fight who won. For an example, Andre Ward. Everybody knows he lost, and then got the second fight. All this game was not fair, but everything happens for a reason. Thank God for this experience. I’m still champion, and I’m still alive and still have motivation for the future. This is additional motivation,” said Kovalev when asked how does he feel about being the older fighter against Canelo. “I want to disappoint these people,” said Kovalev.

It’s impractical to think that Canelo is planning on a TAKEOVER in the 175-lb weight division. For Canelo to take over the light heavyweight division, he would need to defeat IBF/WBC champion Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs). Most boxing fans would agree that Canelo won’t dare facing either of those champions. They’re too good, and not showing signs of being old and shot. Canelo picked Kovalev out, and it’s pretty obvious why he chose him. He wants Kovalev’s belt for bragging rights to help pad his record to give him the ability to tell boxing fans that he’s won four division world titles.

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McGirt says Kovalev’s goal is to just beat Canelo

“I’m not going to depend on that,” said trainer Buddy McGirt when asked what happens when Kovalev lands one of his big right hands to the head of Canelo. “We’re NOT going to try and knock him out. The main goal is just to beat him, because sometimes when you look for the knockout, it never happens. And then the fights over and you’re still looking for him. I believe punchers are born, not made. You either got it or you don’t. I don’t care how much you can lift or push a car, it doesn’t make a difference. You can either punch or not punch,” said McGirt.

“To get longevity. He sent me a video, and I looked at it and I’m like, ‘What happened to this guy? Why aren’t you fighting like that?’ He’s like, ‘Buddy, I’m the Krusher,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, you’re an older Krusher now, so you’ve got to be a smarter Krusher.’ Everybody is not going to go when you hit them. So you’ve got to set traps, and take your time and get longevity in this game. You can’t keep fighting like that, and change up. He’s got the ability to do it, so why not do what got him there?” said McGirt.

Kovalev learned his lesson from his fights against Andre Ward, Eleider Alvarez and Yarde. It’s too risky for him to try and knockout his opponents, because he lacks the stamina to do that. Further, Kovalev’s ability to take body shots isn’t what it needs to be for him to risk going for a knockout against Canelo. Even Gennadiy Golovkin didn’t attempt to KO Canelo. GGG knew better than to try that.

Kovalev is better fighter than people think

“He [Canelo] might have quicker hands or not. I don’t know, because I don’t look at his hand speed,” said McGirt about Canelo. “I’m looking at one thing, and that’s what Sergey Kovalev can do. I know in my heart that he’s going to surprise a lot of people, because he’s a much better fighter than people think, and people know. I’m telling you, he has it all, but he’s just never displayed it. And if he does it on Saturday night, you guys are going to see,” said McGirt.

Back Kovalev was an amateur fighting in Russia, he was an excellent boxer/puncher, and capable of doing a lot of things. After Kovalev turned professional in 2009, he developed bad habits by looking guys out. His promoter made the mistake of feeding him horrible opposition, which he rolled over easily in one or two rounds. Kovalev’s close call against Darnell Boone in 2010 failed to wake him to make him

realize he needs to box instead of slug. Boone had Kovalev hurt in their first fight in October 2010, and almost stopped him. Kovalev won the fight by an eight round split decision, but the match showed that he’s vulnerable. Sergey continued to slug it out with his opponents until he fought Andre Ward in 2016. Ward used wrestling and clinching to defeat Kovalev by a HIGHLY controversial 12 round decision.

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Although Kovalev clearly deserved the win, Ward created the blueprint on how to beat him. He exposed that Kovalev gets tired after six rounds, and he can’t handle getting hit to the body. In their rematch, Ward stopped Kovalev with what appeared to be three low blows to get an 8th round knockout.

Kovalev: I’m NOT going to lose to Canelo

“It’s a new division for Canelo,” said Kovalev. “If he loses, everyone will say, ‘You tried. It’s OK. Stay there [at 160]. If I lose, everyone will say, ‘Oh, you lost to a guy that jumped two divisions.’ Also, no more champion. I’d have to get again my title. To be the champion, I would need to get back my title. But if he loses, he’ll still be champion at his previous division [160 and 168]. It’s his decision, but I’m not going to lose.

“I’m going to defend my title. I never thought I would stop my boxing career like a loser. My goal is to stop my boxing career like a champion, and when I’m ready and covered by financial, and everything is happy around me for my family, my mother and father, I can say yes. I’m ready to stop. I believed in it yes, because I never stepped back. After this fight [Canelo], I’ll have much more. The same level of fights,” said Kovalev.

If the fight goes to the scorecards, Kovalev will likely lose unfortunately. This is Las Vegas, and Canelo doesn’t lose decisions in this city. Kovalev doesn’t want to admit it, but he really does need a knockout for him to win. As Golovkin found out, it’s not enough for the boxing public to know that he deserved a win. For the casual fans to see Kovalev as the winner, the judges have to give him the victory.  If Kovalev wants to win, he has to take the judges out of play by knocking out Canelo.

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