Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Sergey Kovalev faces a tough challenger in Eleider "Storm" Alvarez

Sergey Kovalev faces a tough challenger in Eleider

Kovalev was the more aggressive of the two boxers and was winning the majority of the rounds heading into the seventh.

He took a long count before continuing, and then he hit the canvas a second time in the round after a 1-2 combo from Alvarez.

"I don't wanna take anything away from what Alvarez accomplished", Duva said.

"I just can't describe how I feel", Alvarez said. When Alvarez blasted him with another left-right combination, he went down again and referee David Fields immediately waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 45 seconds. Plus, Alvarez enters the fight with a 3-inch reach advantage on the taller Kovalev.

"I'm more experienced, and I'm more mature", Kovalev said of his progress since then. Alvarez had been landing hard jabs and short, crisp counters prior to the knockdown, but Kovalev got lazy defensively, and Alvarez made him pay.

Eleider Alvarez had spent years chasing the top light heavyweights in the world but was unable to land the fight he desired.

"Sergey seems to gas out after six rounds", said Kathy Duva, Kovalev's promoter.

If Kovalev takes an extended break, that could afford Alvarez an opportunity to make an optional title defense in Quebec. That was followed by an eighth-round knockout in the June 2017 rematch, in which Ward appeared to break Kovalev mentally as much as he had physically. "It was a great accomplishment [for Alvarez], so I don't want to make those kinds of judgments". But Alvarez said he was ready to go on the unification of the championship belts, calling themselves the most likely to rival other Russian Dmitry Bivol, who on the same day in the battle for the title of world champion under version WBA won on points Isaac Chilemba from South Africa. But everything changed dramatically in the seventh round when Alvarez badly hurt and dropped Kovalev with a clean right hand to the head.

Kovalev regained one of his old titles last November following Ward's retirement, knocking out Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the second round of a much-criticized title fight, and defended his title in March against little-known Igor Milhalkin.

But Kovalev had a strong fourth round, buzzing Alvarez with a pair of combinations and hard jabs.

But while Bivol is heavily favoured to deal with well-respected and capable Isaac Chilemba in a test that basically every top level 175lber must overcome, the task in front of Kovalev 32-2-1 (28KO's) is far more risky.

He was the mandatory challenger for WBC titleholder Adonis Stevenson for more than two years. But when that fight was delayed time and again, he quickly accepted the fight with Kovalev when it was surprisingly offered. Barrera is one of the hardest fighters to look good against in the division and Bivol was the first to stop him. The fight with Chilemba was Bivol's third in his past four bouts to come on a Kovalev undercard, as their seemingly inevitable showdown drew closer until the shocker in the main event.

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