Boxer Sergey Kovalev Looking to Make a Statement Against Undefeated Alvarez

Pound-for-pound contender Sergey Kovalev will attempt to hand undefeated boxer Eleider Alvarez his first loss on Saturday night.

Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 • 5:25 PM ET

Sergey Kovalev (left) will defend his light heavyweight belt on Saturday.

Sergey Kovalev will return to the ring on Saturday to defend his WBO light heavyweight title against Eleider Alvarez at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

Defending his belt for the second time since winning the title against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November, Kovalev is 32-2-1 in his career with 28 knockouts. He has bounced back in a major way after back-to-back losses to Andre Ward by knocking out Shabranskyy to win the belt and knocking out Igor Mikhalkin in the seventh round of his first title defense in March.

Kovalev is still one of the most feared power punchers in boxing and before the losses to Ward, he was considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. The 35-year-old Russian will keep climbing up that list with every successful title defense, while his placement on those lists vary.

ESPN and The Ring Magazine both have him ranked ninth in their pound-for-pound rankings, while BoxRec has him ranked 23rd.

Kovalev has notable victories over Jean Pascal (twice), Bernard Hopkins, Nadjib Mohammedi and Isaac Chilemba. In his last two fights, he displayed that age is just a number and he’s not slowing down. However, on Saturday, he’ll fight a hungry boxer who has truly earned his title shot.

Alvarez, 23-0 with 11 KO’s in his career, most recently defeated Pascal by majority decision last June. He was named a mandatory challenger to WBC titleholder Adonis Stevenson, but the fight was stalled for roughly two years for unknown reasons. Whether Alvarez accepted a step-aside fee so Stevenson could face an alternate opponent, which ended up being Badou Jack in May, is also unclear, although he has refuted previous reports that he did.

Signs pointed to Kovalev’s next title defense being against Marcus Browne, but the New York Daily News reported a few months ago that Browne had been arrested twice on domestic violence charges. And when Alvarez and his promoter got the call to step in, they immediately said yes.

Alvarez has been patient and will finally get his shot at a title, but he couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent. A win for Alvarez would change the dynamic of the light heavyweight division and hopefully force the hand on a unification bout with Stevenson.



• Also on the card will be Dmitry Bivol vs. Isaac Chilemba for the WBA light heavyweight title. Both Kovalev and Alvarez have defeated Chilemba by decision.

• The main card can be seen on HBO at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4.

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