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Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 8/4/18

Alvarez vs. Kovalev

Boxing: Saturday August 4, 2018 (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: HBO

Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez fight Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for the WBO light heavyweight title.

Sergey Kovalev enters this fight with a 32-2-1 record that includes 28 knockouts. Kovalev has won seven of his last nine fights, and he’s coming off a March win over Igor Mikhalkin. Kovalev is coming off a rather painless victory in which he dominated from the start and eventually produced a seventh round knockout. Kovalev has boxed a combined nine rounds in his last two fights since his loss to Andre Ward and is proving there’s still something left in the tank despite two losses to the American and being 35 years old. Kovalev will now defend his belt for the second time. Kovalev is a powerful Russian who stands at 6’0”, has a 72.5 inch reach and an orthodox stance. Kovalev has a very high boxing IQ who picks his spots well and waits for his opponent to make a mistake before taking over a fight. However, Kovalev also knows when to let his hands go early, as he showed in his last bout when he jumped on him from the opening bell. Everybody in the building knows Kovalev has the punching power to end things with one shot, but it’s his patience and timing that makes him most dangerous. Kovalev isn’t that heavyweight who is going to swing widely for 12 rounds. Kovalev also has a very strong chin, as he’s only been knocked down once in his career. This will be Kovalev’s fourth career fight in New Jersey.

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Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 8/4/18

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Eleider Alvarez enters this fight with a 23-0 record that includes 11 knockouts. This will be Alvarez’s third fight since 2017, and he’s coming off a June win over Jean Pascal. Alvarez will fight for the first time in over a year after retaining his WBC Silver light-heavyweight title with a majority decision and the biggest victory of his career yet. Alvarez continues to impress as his competition improves, and he’s showing his ability to box rather than being just pure punching power. Alvarez is a 34-year-old Columbian who stands at 6’0”, has a 75.5 inch reach and a orthodox stance. Alvarez can be a free swinger at times and look for the knockout too much, but he’s displaying more patience and looking for the opening in his most recent bouts. Still, Alvarez is a power puncher who can be deadly if he connects with one of his haymakers, despite five of his last six fights ending in deicisons. There’s a reason why some believe Adonis Stevenson has been ducking Alvarez, as that fight has been anticipated by many and would have been a good look for Canada. This will be Alvarez’s second career fight in the United States.

I am a bit concerned with the amount of time Alvarez has been out of the ring, as he’s been inactive for over a year and is fighting arguably the best light heavyweight in the world. However, this is a dangerous fight for Kovalev. Alvarez is an extremely talented offensive fighter who puts combinations together nicely and has some pop in his hands despite recent bouts all ending in decisions. Alvarez is giving up some size to Kovalev, but he does have a three inch reach advantage here. We’ve also seen Kovalev struggle with conditioning issues, as he’s not the same fighter in later rounds, and it’s only going to get worse as he continues to climb the age ladder. Kovalev is obviously the stronger puncher and has a proven chin, but the Colombian is not some filler fight to collect a paycheck. The guy is damn talented and capable of shocking casual boxing fans.

If you’re looking for a live underdog, Alvarez is worthy of a bet based on the value.

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