LAS VEGAS — The conventional wisdom was that Sergey Kovalev was the bigger man and the bigger puncher in his bout Saturday for the WBO light heavyweight title at the MGM Grand Garden with Canelo Alvarez.
The conventional wisdom, though, was horribly, terribly wrong.
Alvarez walked down the career light heavyweight and stopped him at 2:15 of the 11th round when he landed a chopping right and a crushing left hook to the jaw. Kovalev collapsed in a heap over the bottom rope and referee Russell Mora immediately waved the fight off. Judges Dave Moretti and Julie Lederman had Alvarez up 96-94 at the time of the stoppage, the same as Yahoo Sports. Don Trella had it 95-95.
That gave Alvarez the title and made him only the 20th boxer in history to win championships in four weight classes. He is also only the fourth former super welterweight champion to go on to win a light heavyweight belt, joining Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Mike McCallum.
Alvarez did his thing after more than a 90-minute delay as promoters and the broadcast team opted to hold the main event until after UFC 244 in New York concluded.
A consummate pro, Alvarez didn’t let it bother him. He walked down Kovalev, who earned the nickname “Krusher” because of punching power that helped him score 29 knockouts in his first 38 fights, from the opening bell.
Kovalev attempted to jab his way to the win and was out-throwing Alvarez by a large margin. But nearly all of the significant blows in the fight came from Alvarez.
“He just got caught and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kovalev trainer Buddy McGirt said after the fight.
Kovalev was simply outgunned by the smaller man. He couldn’t keep Alvarez off and didn’t get his jab through the high guard often enough.
It was another in a long line of sterling victories by Alvarez, who proved yet again that he’s not only one of the greatest of this era, but he’s one of the best who ever lived.
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