Aftermath: Canelo vs Kovalev
Photos: Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez stopped Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds last night to win a world title in a fourth weight class. Paul Zanon, Callum Rudge, Mick Gill and Lee Gormley give their take on the contest...
BM: Your assessment of the fight, scoring and stoppage?
PZ: I thought Canelo was a round, possibly two ahead by the 11th. There was even a case for even scorecards, but Canelo was shifting up in gears, while Kovalev was running out of gas. Old lion loses to new one.
CR: At the time of the stoppage I had it five rounds apiece but had given a couple of close rounds to Canelo. The way the fight ended seemed to all be part of Canelo’s plan. Don’t exert too much energy, target Kovalev’s body and look to close the show late on. Kovalev boxed a very good fight but felt he perhaps showed the Mexican too much respect in the early rounds and could have forced his size and power advantages on to Canelo earlier than he did. Regardless it’s another very good win for the now four-division titlist (if you believe in 'regular' titles).
MG: Low scoring but absorbing affair, two good defensive fighters. Kovalev a fraction in front after 10. No issues with the stoppage - great punches. Didn’t see such an emphatic end coming, even though Kovalev was tiring.
LG: Kovalev was boxing well behind the jab right up to the end but Canelo always looked like exploding to life late on, which he did, of course. Alvarez fought like either his game plan was always to spring into action in the championship rounds or he knew he was never going to lose on the cards anyway. He was very reserved compared to usual, throwing mainly single shot counters and he looked to be pacing himself a lot throughout with the extra weight. That may suggest light-heavyweight isn't going to be a long-term venture, particularly when the likes of Beterbiev are next in line. I had Kovalev two up after ten and thought the stoppage was definitely a good call from the referee.
BM: Is Kovalev done now?
PZ: I'd say so...but alas, I feel he'll be used as a 'name' to help other fighters get on the fast track to a world title. Buatsi vs Kova anyone? (For the records, I think Buatsi is a strong contender to rule the 175lbs roost in the future).
CR: In his last two fights, Kovalev has gone life and death with a novice who doesn’t spar and then been knocked out by a middleweight. After that you would expect him to retire but last night he didn’t hint towards that at all so you would expect to see him matched gently before being fed to Artur Beterbiev or Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
MG: Probably at top world level. Wouldn’t want to see him vs Dmitry Bivol or Beterbiev.
LG: With a reported $10 million-plus pocketed for his efforts, Kovalev should be hanging his gloves up for good. He came back from one massive knockout loss before but this should be the end now and I'm sure Buddy McGirt will have already told him this too. There's nothing left for him to do now and facing any of the current champions just wouldn't end well. I'd hope that would be the end but I've a feeling it won't be and there could end up being at least one more fight in Russia for 'the Krusher'.
BM: Should Canelo be ahead of Loma In P4P terms?
PZ: Tough one. The drug scandal puts a black mark against Canelo's name, but you can't detract from the merits of his work in the ring. Based on the number of fights, the number of weight divisions and his age, I'd probably say yes.
CR: I’ve had Canelo at number one on my P4P list for some time. The list of names on his record and improvements in his skill set make him the best boxer on the planet for me. The asterisk will always be that failed drug test and I would not argue with those who hold that against him discussing the mythical P4P title. While Lomachenko is a fantastic fighter, his best win is a against shopworn Linares, and I love me some Jorge.
MG: No. Canelo is more marketable but Loma is the best all-round boxer in boxing, by some distance, and that is what P4P is about.
LG: It's annoying having to hail a confirmed drugs cheat as the number one in the sport just months after being caught, but that's what we have to do. Based on achievements and what he did to Kovalev, Canelo is probably in top spot now, yes. He's still by no means the best boxer in the world but that's not how pound-for-pound lists seem to work. There are much better fighters, like Lomachenko, but with everything taken into context, he's likely P4P number one.