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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez KOs Krusher to Win Fourth Division World Title

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  • Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez KOs Krusher to Win Fourth Division World Title

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    By David A. Avila

    LAS VEGAS-If you dare to be great, sometimes you can achieve it.

    Saul “Canelo” Alvarez knocked out Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in the championship rounds to snatch the WBO light heavyweight world title in eye blinking fashion on Saturday. It was his fourth division world title.

    “This is just a step in my career to make history,” said Alvarez.

    The Mexican redhead Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) added his name to the honored rolls of boxing history’s best by defeating Russia’s Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) before a delirious audience of more than 14,000 expecting to watch history be made or not at the MGM Grand.

    Alvarez accomplished what Sugar Ray Leonard achieved more than 30 years ago. It was something Sugar Ray Robinson could not do 60 years ago.

    It was also a fight set at a deliberate pace as both worked slowly with Kovalev using his long reaching jab to keep the shorter Alvarez at a safe distance. All the time the Mexican fighter moved in closer and closer with each round.

    Kovalev was the busier fighter for the first two rounds. Then, Alvarez began finding the timing to deliver counter shots and work around the taller Russian fighter’s guard. Still it was a slow pace.

    “The plan overall was to have patience, that it was going to take some time,” said Alvarez, 29. “He’s a great fighter. We stuck to our game plan.”

    Both fighters had their moments with Kovalev using his stiff left jab effectively at moments. Other times he tried using his favorite weapon the right cross and was reminded of Alvarez’s superior counter punching skills.

    “It opened up my body,” said Kovalev on why he rarely used his vaunted right cross.

    Alvarez had moments when he traded blows with Kovalev and got the upper hand. But he never opened up completely as if worried about the Russian’s right hand missile.

    “It was a very close fight because he was defensive. He was trying to get points and he was coming,” said Alvarez. “But everything worked out according our game plan.”

    In the 11th round Alvarez emerged from his corner with extra pep and Kovalev tried to match intensity. A right cross from Alvarez found the mark and Kovalev shook slightly. Alvarez quickly moved in and delivered a left hook that staggered Kovalev and the Mexican immediately followed with a right cross to the chin that sent the Russian crumbling into the ropes. Referee Russell Mora immediately stopped the fight at 2:15 of the 11th round giving Alvarez the WBO light heavyweight title by knockout. He also adds a fourth division world title to his impressive resume.

    Canelo became the second prizefighter of Mexican origin to win a fourth division world title and joins Tijuana’s Erik “El Terrible” Morales. He had already conquered the super welterweight, middleweight and super middleweight weight classes and was looking to separate himself from the other Mexican legends Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez. A win over Kovalev made him only the second Mexican to win a light heavyweight title. The late Julio Gonzalez had captured a light heavyweight title back in 2003 against Dariusz Michalczewski in Germany.

    Kovalev, 36, sought to further cement his legacy in the light heavyweight division, a division dominated by others from Eastern European nations like Dimitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. A win by the veteran Russian fighter would establish his name as a prominent champion who could win the big fight after losing three times in his last seven fights. One of those losses was avenged when Kovalev out-smarted Eleider Alvarez in the rematch after losing by knockout. The lanky Russian slugger showed that his ring intelligence was overlooked.

    “Canelo is a really great champion,” said Kovalev graciously after the knockout loss. “Thanks for the fight. It’s ok. It’s good experience for me.”

    After 10 rounds one judge had it even at 95-95 and two others saw Alvarez winning 96-94.

    Alvarez eradicated any mystery with that final sizzling combination for the knockout win.

    “It’s a great day for all of us in Mexico,” said Alvarez.

    It’s also a great day for those who dare to be great.

    Ryan Garcia KO win

    It was supposed to be Ryan Garcia’s (19-0, 16 KOs) toughest foe yet. Instead, the 21-year-old from Victorville, California dispatched knockout puncher Romero Duno (21-2, 16 KOs) in the first round of their WBC Silver and NABO lightweight title fight.

    It was shockingly easy for the speedy and popular Southern California fighter.

    At the opening bell Duno moved in quickly to pressure the taller Garcia and immediately sneaked in an overhand right. It had no effect.

    “Everybody knows he (Duno) has a good overhand right,” said Garcia. “I took it.”

    After that, Garcia began unloading his own power shots especially the long right cross. It was like target practice and Duno was out of bullets. A right cross, followed by another right cross and a left hook sent the Filipino fighter down in sections. He could not get up and the fight was ruled over by referee Tony Weeks at 1:38 of the first round.

    “When I took his best shot, I knew alright, I got him,” Garcia said. “Bang bang, and it’s over-temple shot.”

    WBA Female Title Fight

    A flyweight feud saw East L.A.’s Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada slip, slide and batter her way to victory over a gutsy Marlen Esparza to win the vacant interim WBA flyweight title by unanimous decision.

    The fast moving flyweight fight got bloody during a clash of heads when both attempted to move inside and work the body. Esparza emerged from the head clash with a major gash on her forehead that looked more than two inches across. It was an ugly sight but the fight continued.

    “Head butt or not, I still whipped her butt,” said Estrada who now holds the interim WBA flyweight title.

    Esparza had been finding success with her right cross and seemed to be zeroing in for combinations. But Estrada started working inside and firing body shots that slowed the former Olympian.

    After nine bloody rounds the referee Robert Byrd went to Esparza’s corner and asked if she could see. Esparza responded she could not and the fight was stopped and the judges gave their score cards. Estrada was deemed the winner by unanimous decision.

    And what about the feud?

    “No, the beef is not settled. Respect to her team, but I still don’t like her,” said East L.A.’s Estrada.


    Las Vegas-based Blair Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs) survived an early knockdown by Carlos Ortiz (11-5, 11 KOs) and figured out how to avoid the left cross in a battle of southpaws to eventually win by knockout in a welterweight clash.

    Cobbs was dropped in the first round by an overhand left from Mexico’s Ortiz, but figured out how to avoid further lefts by circling to his left. Ortiz was unable to connect with another big power shot after that. Soon, Cobbs began finding the proper distance and then came a rain of body shots that opened up the firing lanes.

    It was clear that Cobbs was in control and Ortiz tried to exchange but was caught with the southpaw’s enemy, a right hook, and down went the tough Mexican fighter. He got up to fight again and was met with more power shots from Cobbs. The fight was stopped at the end of the sixth round giving Cobbs the win by knockout.

    Other Bouts

    Russia’s Bakhram Murtazaliev (17-0, 13 KOs) and Spain’s Jorge Fortea (20-2-1, 6 KOs) put on a spirited 10 round fight that showcased all that boxing entrails, except for a knockout. Both could take a punch, but only Murtazaliev could give a punch and that proved the difference in winning by unanimous decision.

    Evan Holyfield (1-0), the son of boxing great Evander Holyfield, needed only 16 seconds to knock out Nick Winstead (0-2) in a super middleweight first round knockout.

    Bektemir Melikuziev (3-0) knocked out Cristian Olivas (16-6) in the fourth round of their light heavyweight fight.

    Teen cruiserweight Tristan Kalkreuth (3-0) took some shots but out-worked Twon Smith (3-4) to win by decision after four rounds.

  • #2
    That was some nice light sparring up until Canelo trapped his quarry on the ropes and let loose with a fight ending combination, the right hand finisher delivered to the exposed chin with a crushed Kovalev wobbling on Queer Street. Seeing the ease with which it happened when it finally happened leaves the impression that Kovalev was desperate from the opening bell to avoid exactly what ultimately went down (him!) so he jabbed and grabbed and lunged in with the shoulder and never threw a hurtful right hand. It almost worked, the fight almost went into the hands of the judges. It’s ironic that Kovalev really had no plan for victory but to hope the judges liked his jabs and decided he’d won on points. Canelo took them judges right out of the mix.


    • #3
      Kovalev tried to replicate his performance against Eleider Alvarez in February. It worked for some time. But the difference here is unlike the other Alvarez who was looking for one fight changing punch, Canelo threw combinations not always looking for the ko and eventually did get to Kovalev.

      Regarding Estrada-Esparza, I really liked the three minute rounds. I think by going to three minute rounds here made for an even more entertaining fight to watch. I think and hope three minute rounds become the norm in women's boxing.


      • #4
        The round that Canelo took off to save his energy was pure boxing genius. You don't see that vey often. Wow, that's all I can say, wow!


        • #5
          One other thing--or at least one other thing--is that the commentary last night was simply horrible. These guys talked to each other non-stop while the fight goes on.The Latin Snake needs to find other work and Kenny's near hysteria had me finally go to the mute button. Don Dunphey turned over in his grave. SAD.


          • #6
            Kovalev made the only excuse left available to him, one left out of the pre-fight previews analysis; namely that he had just fought recently (too recently) and was thus negatively affected (in terms of conditioning) by the expeditious nature of this super fight super pay day. Most writers were willing to overlook this factor in hopes that Kovalev wasn’t drained from the Yarde struggle (and honest in his promise to “be ready”) but Kovalev basically put the lie to that lie. Is Kovalev finished? It looks that way but this is a guy who comes back (what else can he do?) so never say never.
            Last edited by KO Digest; 11-04-2019, 04:49 AM.