Unbeaten Colombian talent Eleider Alvarez shook up the light-heavyweight division on Saturday night, stopping defending WBO champ and pound-for-pound entrant Sergey Kovalev in seven exciting and very interesting rounds. The 34 year old – who looks and fights like a man a number of years his junior – laid out and followed a smart game-plan, using his swift hands to good effect, ultimately displaying power nobody really felt he possessed.
The crushing stoppage (let’s call it a KO) defeat 35 year old Kovalev suffered may well have signalled the end of his career; certainly his days as an elite operator, and this may well be how things transpire. Certainly nobody would really hold it against “Krusher” if he opted to call it quits. The Russian star has enjoyed a fine and long career, first winning a world title half a decade ago, and he may well venture to pastures new.
But there is a rematch clause in place – one that will force new WBO boss Alvarez to give Kovalev a return fight should Sergey want one. A rematch would be interesting, but would anything be much different in a part-two? Alvarez was faster, cleverer, more accurate with his shots and he showed he has a reliable chin. What could Kovalev possibly do better in a return?
Kovalev, an excellent fighter in his day, may have seen his day go by. Never has Sergey been able to avenge a pro loss (okay, before Saturday he had only been beaten by the sublime skills belonging to the now retired Andre Ward) and if he does enter into a rematch with his latest conqueror, chances are big Kovalev will enter the ring as a significant underdog.
With the sheer power his carries, Kovalev will always have the proverbial puncher’s chance, in any fight, and a rematch with Alvarez would be no different, but it really would be some inspired turnaround from the Russian is he did manage to, well, turn things around in a rematch with Alvarez.
Alvarez currently carries the hunger and desire Kovalev used to know as his friends, and as such he will take some beating – either by Kovalev or by any of the other reigning champions at 175. Sometimes a fighter has to know when to quit. Sergey Kovalev never quit in a fight, but his career may have reached termination point this past Saturday.
Ask yourself this: would YOU put any hard cash on a Kovalev win if these two did meet again?