Canelo Alvarez eyes fourth world title, place in boxing history
Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez can strengthen his legacy with a victory over WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on Saturday in their title fight in Las Vegas.
Updated November 1, 2019 - 5:41 pm
Three-division boxing champion Canelo Alvarez keeps repeating it.
And if he’s not saying it, longtime trainers Jose “Chepo” Reynoso and Eddy Reynoso are saying it for him.
“He is still forming his history. He is still putting together his history,” Chepo Reynoso said through an interpreter. “Once he is done with his career, then history will place him as one of the best in boxing history.”
Alvarez, 29, is indeed in the midst of a historical career and can strengthen his legacy with a victory over WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on Saturday in their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Mexican icon already has won world titles in the light middleweight, middleweight and super middleweight divisions.
But he’s seeking another challenge this time in the form of Kovalev, a fixture in the 175-pound division. The biggest, strongest and most powerful foe he’s faced and the one who can offer him a fourth title in a fourth division.
“It means a lot. It means a lot to me because it’s going into huge history here,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “Very few have accomplished this. Therefore, the only thing that I want is to make history in my career, and this is the most important history in my career.”
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 knockouts) the prodigy first became Alvarez the world champion in 2011 with a unanimous decision over Matthew Hatton for the vacant WBC light middleweight championship. He debuted in Las Vegas in 2012 with a victory over Shane Mosley — his fourth title defense — and fought the legendary Floyd Mayweather a year later, losing a majority decision but winning over the public.
The loss triggered a move to middleweight, and Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision in 2015 to secure the WBC title. Victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Gennady Golovkin cemented his status atop the division, and Alvarez beat Rocky Fielding at 168 pounds in December to win the WBA super middleweight title.
So Eddy Reynoso proposed the idea of moving up two divisions to light heavyweight — well before his middleweight title unification victory over Daniel Jacobs in May — and Alvarez has prepared accordingly.
“We always train hard. Eat well. Obviously we do really good work here. Huge sparring sessions,” said Alvarez, who sparred significantly bigger fighters in preparation for Kovalev. “We do really hard work. We trust in my physical strength and my capacities as a fighter.”
Alvarez has said all the right things about Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), acknowledging his power and productivity within the light heavyweight class. But he hasn’t altered his training in preparation for the biggest fight of his career. He’s simply not dehydrating the way he normally does for a middleweight fight and said his natural weight hovers around the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds.
He also said he doesn’t expect to weigh more than 180 pounds during the fight and thinks Kovalev will be about 10 pounds heavier. Kovalev downplayed his advantage.
“He’s really dangerous because he’s not losing the weight,” Kovalev said. “And when you’re not losing the weight, you’re not losing the energy. … He’s dangerous. He has everything. Stamina, speed, intelligence, counter punches, attack punches.”
With a victory, Alvarez would join Erik Morales as Mexico’s only four-division champions. Other legends, such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr., also successfully jumped from middleweight to light heavyweight, and Alvarez is aware of those additional implications.
He’s not sure what weight class he’ll fight in next. His focus is on the light heavyweight division. On Kovalev.
“We’ve been able to grow a lot in many years with the same vision of making history,” Alvarez said. “This is what we wanted.”
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Who: Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena
TV: DAZN (streaming)
Odds: Alvarez -400; Kovalev +300 (William Hill)
— — —
Tale of the tape
Hometown: Guadalajara, Mexico
Record: 52-1-2, 35 KOs
Weight: 174.5 pounds
Reach: 70.5 inches
Hometown: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Record: 34-3-1, 29 KOs
Weight: 175 pounds
Reach: 72.5 inches