Canelo Alvarez can join the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard with win over Sergey Kovalev

Canelo Alvarez can join the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard with win over Sergey Kovalev

On Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will attempt a massive jump in weight to take on the larger, heavy-hitting Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title. The fight is Canelo’s attempt to win gold in a fourth weight class and his debut at light heavyweight, having topped out previously at super middleweight where he defeated Rocky Fielding.

Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) is no Fielding. Kovalev is in the late stages of his career but still brings serious power to the ring. And Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) will be at a size and strength disadvantage no matter how much he bulks up to move from his true home at 160 pounds to the 175-pound light heavyweight division. There’s a historical precedent for this kind of big jump in weight to chase glory and gold. If the Las Vegas odds are any indicator, Canelo is expected to follow in the footsteps of some of those all-time greats in accomplishing his goal while putting himself at great risk.

Respect box? Subscribe to our podcast — State of Combat with Brian Campbell — where we take an in-depth look at the world of boxing each week, including a complete breakdown of Canelo-Kovalev at the 1:02:20 mark below.

Let’s take a look at three times fighters made a jump and scored legendary wins.

Roy Jones Jr. vs. John Ruiz — March 1, 2003 

Aside from a single career stumble when he’d hit Montell Griffin after a knockdown, resulting in a disqualification loss, Roy Jones Jr. had been the picture of perfection in the ring when he decided to make the jump to heavyweight. Jones had won titles at middleweight and super middleweight before a lengthy reign at light heavyweight that included a stint as the undisputed champion. As his fi

Read More

Canelo Alvarez has a personal feud with Oscar De La Hoya

Canelo Alvarez has a personal feud with Oscar De La Hoya

Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is just days away from his light heavyweight title fight with WBO champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs). It was an ordeal just to get Canelo’s next fight booked, and one of the storylines heading into this Saturday’s contest is the unraveling relationship between the Mexican superstar and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya.

The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire did a story several months ago that brought to light a number of concerns that Alvarez had with Golden Boy Promotions, including De La Hoya and GBP president Eric Gomez’s promise to DAZN of delivering a third fight between him and Gennadiy Golovkin.

A new report from The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger (paywall only) goes even deeper into the apparent feud.

“You can see there’s no loyalty in [De La Hoya],” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “He changed trainers during his career. He changed managers in his career. So there’s no loyalty. That’s the way he is. We see it now.”

As for what caused this friction between fighter and promoter, more details are below:

Alvarez said his perception of De La Hoya began to change about two years ago, around the time that Alvarez drew against Gennady Golovkin with the lineal middleweight championship at stake. After that, the two men quietly drifted apart. Until this summer, when Alvarez’s frustration with Golden Boy Promotions boiled over.

First

Read More

Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev date of fight, odds, boxing undercard, how to watch, start time

Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev date of fight, odds, boxing undercard, how to watch, start time

Canelo Alvarez is daring to be great on Saturday night in Las Vegas when he moves up two weight classes to take on WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The unified middleweight champion will move up 15 pounds to attempt to secure a world title in a fourth weight class after scoring a decision win over Daniel Jacobs in May.

Kovalev, meanwhile, comes into this bout fresh off a win over Anthony Yarde in which he needed to rally late to score an 11th round TKO. The 36-year-old may very well be entering the last fight of his career against one of the sport’s biggest stars.

With so much going down ahead of the fight,

Read More

Canelo Alvarez details his case as pound-for-pound best in boxing: ‘I’ve done better than they have’

Canelo Alvarez details his case as pound-for-pound best in boxing: ‘I’ve done better than they have’

Terence “Bud” Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko are names routinely placed in the No. 1 spot in pound-for-pound rankings. Knowing his name is not included alongside the two is eating at Saul “Canelo” Alvarez ahead of his showdown with WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev this Saturday in Las Vegas.

“I’ve done better than they have,” Alvarez told reporters Tuesday after his “grand arrival” for the bout at MGM Grand this weekend. “I’ve done things that are better than they have done. It’s never really not allowed me to sleep, to not be No. 1 pound-for-pound. Because at the end, there’s somebody who puts you there. Ma

Read More

Kovalev hopes to cash in on Alvarez weight jump

Kovalev hopes to cash in on Alvarez weight jump

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Canelo Alvarez is taking a big chance in his latest fight, moving up to light heavyweight Saturday night to challenge Sergey Kovalev for a piece of the 175-pound crown.

It’s dangerous territory against a dangerous puncher. But Kovalev believes he has more at stake in the crossroads bout than does his red-haired Mexican opponent.

“I should defend my title, I will defend my title,” Kovalev said. “If I lose, I lose more than Canelo loses. Canelo, he is trying to make his history, but I’m here. I’m in my position.”

That position would be on top of the light heavyweight division — at least according to one of the ranking organizations that stake claims to legitimacy in the convoluted world of boxing. Kovalev rebounded from two losses to Andre Ward to regain a title belt and then stopped Anthony Yarde just two months ago in his native Russia to move into position for a lucrative fight with Alvarez.

There are questions about his age (36) and the wear and tear the fights with Ward took out of him. But Kovalev can still punch and, armed with new tr

Read More

Four ways that Sergey Kovalev can pull off the massive upset of Canelo Alvarez

Four ways that Sergey Kovalev can pull off the massive upset of Canelo Alvarez

From the moment Canelo Alvarez announced interest in moving up two weight divisions to challenge light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, fans and critics began the exciting task of attempting to handicap how the fight might play out.

Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), the unified middleweight champion and biggest star in the sport globally, will headline the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday without the added benefit of a catchweight when he faces the much bigger Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) for the WBO title. 

The daring nature of Alvarez’s decision did nothing but add to his growing legacy as a star fighter willing to take on the most difficult challenges available to him. The fact that he’s the fresher fighter at 29, in his physical prime, also helped the Mexican star to being tabbed as the betting favorite by oddsmakers against Kovalev. 

Respect box? Subscribe to our podcast — State of Combat with Brian Campbell — where we take an in-depth look at the world of boxing each week.

The key question becomes whether Kovalev, the 36-year-old Russian native, has anything more than a puncher’s chance to make Alvarez regret the decision. Let’s take a closer look at why Kovalev has the makings to be a very live dog on Saturday and what will need to go his way in order to get there. 

1.”The Krusher” is a boxer first. Although Kovalev originally built his name as a hard-punching destroyer, he has been anything but a reckless slugger throughout his trio of title runs. It may have taken a 12-round showcase of his boxing skills against Bernard Hopkins in 2014 for anyone to realize such a point, but Kovalev is a largely responsible boxer who relies on an accurate and powerful jab to set up his right hand. Yes, he has a career filled with highlight-reel stoppages, but it’s Kovalev’s craft that have saved him in some of his biggest wins, including a decision over Eleider Alvarez in February just six months after Alvarez knocked Kovalev out to take his title. The same thing happened in

Read More

Kovalev hopes to cash in on Alvarez weight jump

Kovalev hopes to cash in on Alvarez weight jump

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Canelo Alvarez is taking a big chance in his latest fight, moving up to light heavyweight Saturday night to challenge Sergey Kovalev for a piece of the 175-pound crown.

It’s dangerous territory against a dangerous puncher. But Kovalev believes he has more at stake in the crossroads bout than does his red-haired Mexican opponent.

“I should defend my title, I will defend my title,” Kovalev said. “If I lose, I lose more than Canelo loses. Canelo, he is trying to make his history, but I’m here. I’m in my position.”

That position would be on top of the light heavyweight division — at least according to one of the ranking organizations that stake claims to legitimacy in the convoluted world of boxing. Kovalev rebounded from two losses to Andre Ward to regain a title belt and then stopped Anthony Yarde just two months ago in his native Russia to move into position for a lucrative fight with Alvarez.

There are questions about his age (36) and the wear and tear the fights with Ward took out of him. But Kovalev can still punch and, armed with n

Read More

What path will Canelo Alvarez follow as he makes 15-pound leap to light heavyweight?

What path will Canelo Alvarez follow as he makes 15-pound leap to light heavyweight?
9:00 AM ET

  • Nigel CollinsESPN Staff Writer

    Close

    • ESPN.com boxing and “Friday Night Fights” contributor
    • Former editor-in-chief of Ring Magazine
    • 2002 Rocky Marciano Award, excellence in boxing coverage

Bob Fitzsimmons was a geeky-looking guy. His receding hairline had been in full retreat since puberty and his freckled torso looked too big for his spindly Babe Ruth legs. John L. Sullivan called him a “fighting machine on stilts.”

Wonder if Canelo Alvarez, who challenges Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title on Saturday, has heard of Fitzsimmons. If he has, maybe he knows the Cornishman out of Australia was boxing’s first triple champion, winning three world titles in three different weight classes — middleweight (1891), heavyweight (1897) and light heavyweight (1903).

Fitzsimmons was the original division hopper, an opportunist taking refuge at any weight that would have him. Back then, when fighters wrapped flags around their waists and fought with five-ounce gloves, the weights for various divisions were, to say the least, fluid.

Fitzsimmons knew how to use the scales. He was 170 pounds when he outpointed George Gardner for the light heavyweight title and only three pounds less than that when he stopped 184-pound Jim Corbett for the heavyweight title.

The Kovalev-Alvarez match is just the latest installment of boxing’s version of changing lanes, pioneered more than a century ago by a cunning fighter nicknamed “Ruby Robert.”

Most boxers, except heavyweights, will tell you the toughest part of boxing is making weight. Drying out is often torturous and dangerous. Cutting too much weight for too long nearly always leads to trouble. Moving up isn’t a panacea, but it beats seriously damaging your body.

Boxers move up in weight for two reasons: They can no longer make weight in the division in which they are competing, or there is more money to be made elsewhere. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

More than anything else, it’s a search for a new beginning.


It would be wrong to get the impression that moving from middleweight to light heavyweight is a fail-proof remedy for ambitious, aging or out-of-shape 160-pounders. Like most everything in boxing, it comes down to ability and circumstances. Overall, it’s close to a 50-50 deal. There have been six middleweight champs who successfully moved up to become light heavyweight titleholders, and five who failed. Even some of the most celebrated middleweights fell short.

Former welterweight and middleweight champion Mickey Walker was the perfect fighter for the Roaring Twenties, an era exemplified by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s

Read More