Analyzing Canelo Alvarez’s claim to win a world title in a fourth weight category

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On November 2, the current WBA, WBC middleweight champion of the world Canelo Alvarez will move up two weight classes to fight current WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This fight was supposed to happen next month in October, but Kovalev had previously committed to a fight against rising light heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde. The fight took place last month, where Kovalev knocked Yarde out, clearing the way for the fight against the high profile Mexican.

The fight will be streamed live on DAZN, a sports streaming app which wants to become the Netflix of sports and is backed by Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik who is worth $19 Billion. This fight will be Canelo’s second this year and if Canelo manages to beat the 35-year old Russian, then he joins the list of elite Mexican fighters to have won world titles in four weight classes. 

Last year Canelo became a three-division world champion when he knocked out Rocky Fielding at the Madison Square Garden to win the WBA super-middleweight championship.

Early estimates from a UK boxing news and betting tips website, reveal that Canelo Alvarez could be a huge 7-1 favourite for his fight against Sergey Kovalev. What this means is that if you bet $700 on Canelo, then you make a $100 profit if he wins the fight. On the other hand, Kovalev is a 4-1 underdog which means that you would have to bet $100 on Kovalev as an underdog to make $400. If these odds look wide, then they absolutely are. It’s a known fact that Kovalev is on the decline, but despite that, he packs mean power in his punches as shown in the Yarde fight, he is also known to have a powerful jab that can keep any fighter at bay. Seeing that Canelo is essentially the much smaller man, the long jabs will come in handy.

But despite all of these Canelo is the heavy betting favourite. To understand this, you would have to look back at his previous fights against the likes of Gennadiy Golovin and Floyd Mayweather. In his first fight against GGG, one of the judges Adelaide Bryd had Canelo winning the fight 118-110. Although the end result was a draw many fans, expert and ex-fighters believed that it was GGG who had won the fight. Bookmakers were offering odds of 30-1 for the fight to end as a draw as that was the result not many would have expected.

In his fight against, the former five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican star was a slight 2-1 underdog, which implied that the fight was going to be a close one. But inside the ring, it was nothing but a Mayweather masterclass where he comfortably outpointed Canelo in every round. Still one of the judges had the fight as a 114-114 draw. Although Mayweather won the fight, there’s a pattern where Canelo is on the receiving end of preferential treatment from the judges.

So with the history of judges having a favourable bias for Canelo, it’s hard to not make him a favourite going into the Kovalev fight. But make no mistake, Canelo is a highly-skilled fighter and is in my top three pound-for-pound list. And I do believe he has a legitimate chance of beating Kovalev. 

If Canelo makes Kovalev miss his punches and frustrates him with his head and upper body movement and keeps working body shots, the Russian may be in for a long night.

Canelo has, over the years, evolved as a fighter. He has the hunger to be better and even though he is only 29-years old, is a veteran with 55 pro bouts having made his professional debut when he was only 15-years old and at super-lightweight (140lbs). 

He fought Abraham Gonalez in 2005 and defeated him via TKO in the fourth round. 

To this day, ever since, I have seen Canelo get better with every fight. He always learns from his mistakes and that has resulted in him emerging as one of the finest fighters in the world today.

If he beats Sergey Kovalev, he will join Juan Manual Marquez, Jose Arche and Erik Morales to become only the fourth Mexican to hold world titles in four weight classes.



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