Eleider Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 2/2/19
Photo by Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez
Boxing: Saturday February 2, 2019 (Ford Center at The Star)
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev fight Saturday at the Ford Center at The Star for the WBO light heavyweight title.
Eleider Alvarez enters this fight with a 23-0 record that includes 12 knockouts. This will be Alvarez’s fourth fight since 2017, and he’s coming off a August win over Sergey Kovalev. Alvarez was on pace to lose the first fight of his career before opening up offensively and dropping Kovalev multiple times in the later rounds, earning the knockout victory. It was just the third knockout victory for Alvarez in his last eight bouts, but he showed that there is some underrated pop in those hands. If Alvarez can successfully defend his new belt, he becomes the clear cut best light heavyweight in the world. Alvarez is a 34-year-old Columbian who stands at 6’0”, has a 75.5-inch reach and a orthodox stance. Alvarez was a free swinger in the past and a pure sloppy boxer who looked for the stoppage, but he’s displaying more patience as of late and entering the ring with more of a game plan. Alvarez admitted that the goal was to let Kovalev tire himself out early and go to work in the later rounds. When you add that improved discipline with his offensive skill set and ability to be aggressive, Alvarez has a chance to put himself in a different tier of boxer. This will be Alvarez’s third career fight in the United States.
Sergey Kovalev enters this fight with a 32-3-1 record that includes 28 knockouts. Kovalev has won seven of his last 10 fights, and he’s coming off a August loss to Eleider Alvarez. Kovalev has some work to do considering he’s lost three of his last five fights and his last two losses have been knockouts. Another loss here would certainly raise questions just how much Kovalev has left in the tank and if he’s still capable of fighting quality boxers. Kovalev is a 35-year-old Russian who stands at 6’0”, has a 72.5-inch reach and an orthodox stance. When in good form, Kovalev has a very high boxing IQ who picks his spots well and goes to work once he figures things out. Kovalev is one of the better power punchers in the division and only two of his victories since 2011 have seen the distance. Four of Kovalev’s last five victories have ended in the seventh round or earlier, and despite his recent form, that one-punch knockout potential can’t be ignored. However, conditioning is an issue with Kovalev at this stage of his career and it clearly didn’t help the last time these two guys stepped in the ring. This will be Kovalev’s first career fight in Texas.
I gave out Alvarez as an upset pick the last time these guys fought back in August, and there’s no reason to bet against him this time around. In fact, there’s good reason to consider Alvarez the favorite this time. Kovalev looked like a boxer who has nothing left in the tank, as he tired out rather quickly and seemed to have dead legs for much of the fight. Kovalev wasn’t throwing with much power and had nothing defensively. Alvarez was landing ridiculously clean power shots and it’s what eventually dropped the big Russian. If Alvarez is going to be able to line up power shots all night and there’s no counters, this is a fight that should end rather quickly. At this stage, Alvarez looks like the energetic, quicker and more powerful boxer. Kovalev also doesn’t handle pressure well, and based on the last fight and the confidence, Alvarez should be the aggressor here.
Alvarez wins again, keeping that undefeated record intact.