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Who Wins and How? Canelo Vs. Kovalev

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Canelo vs. Kovalev is richly anticipated, because some folks think Canelo is trying to cross a bridge too far.

Another fight that is richly anticipated..Boxing is on a solid run, there have been a bountiful handful of those sorts of scraps this year.

Canelo Alvarez rolling the dice, and seeing how he fares not at 160, or 168, again…but at 175. Is that a bridge too far, and do we see the Mexican pack-leader get punished for his ambition? Do we see Sergey Kovalev win a career definer, and smack down the red-head for his hubris?

Match announcement between Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev

I asked the NYF Squad about that subject, as we tick down to Saturday, Nov. 2, when Canelo Alvarez seeks to win a crown at yet another weight class. 154, 160, 168….and now 175? Is this the most likely outcome to the tango, which unspools in Las Vegas, and screens on DAZN?

Kelsey McCarson, how do you see this playing out? “While I believe the fight will be much more competitive than most people seem to think, I do believe the most likely outcome is Alvarez by decision,” Big Mac told us. “I envision a tactical fight where Kovalev uses his jab to Alvarez’s head and body to keep the shorter fighter off of him. Alvarez will try to dip under it, but Kovalev’s excellent boxing will keep Alvarez from getting off as many punches as he hopes. It goes the full 12 rounds and is a close call for Alvarez who slips by via majority decision.”

“This is going to be a great fight,” said Abe Gonzalez. “In the beginning rounds, we see Kovalev establishing the jab and throwing hard combinations in an effort to gain Canelo’s respect. Meanwhile, Canelo will be utilizing good head movement and counter punching in an effort to establish a rhythm. The middle to late rounds is when things will start to get interesting as the smart counter punching capability of Canelo will start putting rounds in the bank. If Canelo hurts Kovalev, I can see him playing it safe, not taking any chances and instead going for the decision. In the end, the winner will be Canelo by decision with talks of a fight against Bivol, a small light heavyweight, in May gaining maximum momentum.”

“In a pound for pound sense, this fight on paper looks like an easy(ish) win for a peak level Canelo over a declining Kovalev,” said David Phillips. “What makes the fight interesting is this being Canelo’s debut at light heavyweight. All the usual questions are in place. Will Canelo’s power come up with the weight? Will Kovalev – being the naturally bigger man – have an advantage in size and strength? Still, I think skill and youth wins out here. Both guys have a tendency to fight in spurts, but I think Canelo will have appreciably more than Kovalev. I think the fight goes the full 12. Canelo takes 8 rounds, Kovalev 4.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kovalev give a much better account of himself than people are suggesting he’s going too,” said Chris Glover. “His power will trouble Canelo at some point during the fight. He has to win by knockout however to stand any chance of even getting a draw. How Canelo can jump up and down in weights like he does still puzzles me, as someone who does understand making weight first hand, it’s a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I feel a Canelo decision victory will be the outcome.”

Sergey Kovalev training in a gym

“In my mind,” said Gabe Oppenheim, “Canelo is so proficient at cutting off the ring and throwing the left to the liver, he curtails matches that way commonly. But it’s a misperception, an inaccurate memory: In the last two years, Canelo went the full 12 with Jacobs, Golovkin and even the under-prepared, over-matched, there-for-a-paycheck JCC Jr. The only dude he put down early in that stretch was Rocky Fielding, a cherry-picked pushover no one rates very highly.

So I ask myself: Sure, Kovalev is old and his midsection always soft, but will those weaknesses render him more susceptible to body shot KO than JCC Jr — will they lower him to the level of Fielding? Doubtful — especially as he’s shown us in his last two matches he can still move nimbly enough to stay on the outside. In fact, I think Kovalev can tag Canelo’s chin from as Cinnamon comes in. Canelo will absorb these shots, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be scored.

Canelo by majority or split decision for these reasons, plus the favor Vegas judges show him and his recent history (an SD and MD versus Golovkin and a UD versus Jacobs that actually would’ve been a majority draw had just one more round been scored for Jacobs on the two 115-113 cards).

Oh, and then there’s this: Oscar has been getting sued, Golden Boy looks a mess in the public eye, and Len Blavatnick is working with Goldman Sachs to raise half a billion dollars so DAZN can buy the rights to more sporting events/leagues. The Golden Boy-Canelo deal is the one DAZN publicized the most in its first US year. The better Canelo performs on paper the better it is for his half-billion seeking backer. I doubt there’ll be any direct pressure on judges — but people are swayed by the environment in which they work. Judges are hardly an exception, as we well know.”

Canelo Alvarez punching a speed bag

“This is no easy one for Alvarez,” said Tommy Rainone. “Although Kovalev is on the decline he is still a hard punching world class light-heavy. He also has the most underrated jab in the sport which combined with his natural advantages in height and reach could be a huge factor in this fight. This isn’t Rocky Fielding at 168 pounds and Alvarez will have to be on his A game to overcome Kovalev.”

“I think the odds heavily favoring Canelo are way off,” said Zach Levin. “I am shocked Kovalev is being paid such short shrift.”

“Sergey Kovalev will go down in history as a great light heavyweight, but he’s nearing the end of his career,” said Jeremy Herriges. “He’s still one of the best in the division, but he’s vulnerable. Kovalev rebounded well from his knockout loss against Eleider Alvarez, and Buddy McGirt has rejuvenated his career, but age has taken a toll, and he’s distracted. This is arguably the biggest fight of his career, and his assault case goes to trial in late November. Canelo Alvarez is small for the division, but he proved he could handle bigger opponents. If he can beat GGG and Daniel Jacobs, he should have an easier time with Sergey Kovalev. Afterall, GGG was rumored to have leveled Kovalev while sparring several years ago. Look for Canelo to use his superior speed and quickness to break down Kovalev’s body over time. I think Canelo wins by TKO in 10.”

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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