As fight fans know, unbeaten Colombian talent Eleider Alvarez shook up the light-heavyweight division in a big way back in August of last year, when he stopped defending WBO champ and pound-for-pound entrant Sergey Kovalev in seven exciting and very interesting rounds. The rematch is now fast approaching, this Saturday night, some six months on from the first fight. So who wins? Can 35 year old Kovalev, 32-3-1(28) avenge his third pro loss, or will Alvarez, 24-0(12) and a year younger and seemingly a whole lot fresher, repeat his big win?
The crushing stoppage (no pun intended!) Kovalev suffered was indeed a bad one; one that at the time looked as though it may well have signalled the end of his career. Certainly nobody will be too shocked if Alvarez beats Kovalev again on Saturday. The Russian star has enjoyed a fine and long career, first winning a world title half a decade ago, and he may well be past his best, his punch resistance sorely compromised.
But maybe we should not be so fast in writing off Kovalev. The rematch will be interesting, and just maybe things will turn out vastly different this time round. Alvarez was faster, cleverer, more accurate with his shots and he showed he has a reliable chin. What can Kovalev – who was ahead on all cards at the time of the stoppage – do better in the return? Can he do anything better this time?
Kovalev, an excellent fighter in his day, may have seen his day go by. Never has “Krusher” been able to avenge a pro loss (losing only to Alvarez and to the now “retired” Andre Ward) and when he does enter the ring as the underdog this time. Still, with the sheer power his carries, Kovalev will always have the proverbial puncher’s chance, in absolutely any fight, and the rematch is no different. Might we a revenge mission successfully carried out by Kovalev?
Alvarez, though, carries the hunger and desire Kovalev used to carry back when the Russian was at his hungriest, and as such he will take some beating on Saturday. Then again, they say the great fighters always have one last great fight left inside them. Maybe Kovalev will prove that he is indeed a great. Maybe we will even see these two fight a third time, in a decider?