Is Canelo Alvarez the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world? You’ve got to ask that question now after he became a four-weight world champion. He brutally knocked out Sergey Kovalev to add the WBA light-heavyweight belt to his collection. In short, it wasn’t a great fight, but it was a brilliant finish.
This fight was intriguing for a number of reasons. First of all, Kovalev’s current condition was an unknown factor. The Russian was an elite fighter but he has deteriorated recently. Could Alvarez, a natural middleweight, handle the length and power of the bigger man? Would Kovalev be able to handle ‘Canelo’s’ brutal bodywork?
Meanwhile, Canelo came into this off the back of a feud with his own promoter Oscar De La Hoya. Adding even more chaos to the mix was the fact that the two men had to wait for UFC 244 to end before they made the walk to the ring. It was a bizarre way to start the night.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) November 3, 2019
This was a really close fight up until the knockout. It wasn’t a classic by any means, but they both had clear gameplans. Kovalev used his jab effectively, keeping Canelo honest. He wanted to deter the Mexican from wading in and unleashing his power punches to the body.
So you had a situation where the smaller man was bombing forward trying to land the heavy shots, while the bigger man was boxing more technically. It would have been very interesting to see how this fight would have been scored if it went the full twelve rounds.
4 Weight World Champion Canelo Alvarez now amazingly at light heavyweight what an amazing achievement 👊🏻 still couldn’t shift the little fella though 😜 pic.twitter.com/eLCzGBzsiY
— Matthew Hatton (@MagicMattHatton) November 3, 2019
However, it didn’t make it that far. Alvarez finally got the finish he was looking for in the eleventh round. He had been using his left hook throughout the fight. Despite the fact that it wasn’t connecting he didn’t give up on it. Finally, he connected with the Russian’s temple and staggered him.
From there all it took was a brutal right hand. Then it was lights out for Kovalev who was finished. Canelo will definitely be happy with how he won his fourth title on what was a frustrating night for him.
— Ansah Apagya (@DeMasterminder) November 3, 2019
This just shows the importance of keeping patient and sticking to the gameplan. Canelo had clearly drilled that left hook/straight right combo and it paid off. But to be fair, Kovalev’s own strategy had been effective up until that point. Was it the most entertaining boxing match? No, but it was technically fascinating.
“It was a very close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard,” Canelo said. “All he was doing was trying to establish points, but we knew what was coming. Inevitably it would come, and everything came out the way we had planned.”
Now the question is whether or not Alvarez is the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world. However, he is fighting aging opponents so that does tarnish his achievement somewhat. Lomachenko and Crawford will definitely disagree. Still, boxing has a new megastar. And he’s ginger.