Boxing: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev preview and pick

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Danny Howard

October 10th, 2019

In one of the most intriguing fights of the year on November 2, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will look to win a title in a fourth weight class to cement his status as one of the best fighters in the sport. This will be no small task against the aging but dangerous light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, who will do anything to spoil Alvarez’s coronation.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev odds

Though Kovalev is clearly past his best days and has seen a rapid decline in form, the light heavyweight champion is holding more cards than the odds suggest. While Alvarez may have youth on his side, coming up two divisions to take on a legitimate champion is a tall order for anyone.

Kovalev won't be pushed around

Alvarez might be what the doctor ordered to keep Kovalev’s career as a prime attraction going. Alvarez’s power above 160 pounds is questionable at best, but what isn’t in question is that Kovalev will not be pushed around by a blown-up middleweight.

Working behind a hard jab, Kovalev can flip the script once it becomes apparent he can take Alvarez’s power and stay in front of him. Alvarez will have no choice but to fight to Kovalev’s strengths early and hope his speed and head movement leave opportunities to land some devastating body shots.
But Kovalev's once ironclad chin has been cracked, his endurance is faulty and his resolve has waned. Though Alvarez will have a hard time landing enough leather to stop a man who will be nearly 200 pounds, he can compromise Kovalev's gas tank early and have him running on fumes as the fight progresses.

Kovalev's stamina will be a big factor

The first four rounds will be key to determining how the fight will end. Alvarez will press early to see how Kovalev reacts to his speed and body punches. This will also help him determine the risk of fighting in the pocket. Kovalev will need to preserve his legs for the later rounds, but he cannot pass up the opportunity to impose his power on Alvarez early on.

Barring a knockdown or Kovalev shutting Alvarez down early, Kovalev is going to begin fading around the midpoint. Alvarez will dance in and out of range of Kovalev’s jab, in an effort to counter and take that weapon away. A combination of body work and constant movement will slow Kovalev down to a crawl in the later rounds.

Alvarez will play the long game, but Kovalev will exhaust his own firepower, with the hope he can swing the fight in his favor before time runs out. If Alvarez can weather the storm and find his opportunity, he’ll go for a stoppage.

Expect a close fight early on

Alvarez will pull away after an even first six rounds. A desperate Kovalev may have his moments in the waning minutes of the bout, but Alvarez will endure and leave Kovalev in the dust to become light heavyweight champion in a unanimous decision.

Pick: Alvarez -435

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