By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributor to dmboxing.com since 2008
Sergey Kovalev has been a different fighter since the first half of the first Andre Ward fight when he looked powerful, even knocking Ward down. Ward changed strategy and went inside Kovalev while nailing his body with shots. While you can argue who won that fight , it was close and Kovalev wore down in the second half of that fight. In their second battle, Ward stopped Kovalev in their second fight with a similar strategy of hitting the body and from that point, Kovalev was a different fighter.
Against Canelo Alvarez, he fought as much not to lose as oppose to win. He threw 70 plus punches per round while Alvarez threw on only 30 punches per round and going into the eleventh round, the number of punches connected were even as both landed an average of 11 punches per round. Alvarez landed a higher percentage and connected on more than double of power shots while nearly 78% of Kovalev punches were jabs. 63% of Alvarez punches were power shots and interesting this may have influenced scoring at ringside. Some like Dan Rafel had Kovalev up by three rounds going into the ninth round while Kevin Iole had the oppostive score.
Kovalev threw 50 plus jabs per round but not many of those jabs were the jack hammer jabs he used to throw but merely jabs to keep Alvarez off him as oppose to hurting him. One never got the feeling that Kovalev wanted to show he was the bigger guy and this allowed Alvarez to basically to fight at his pace. There was this feeling that Alvarez could simply pick up the pace and take control of the fight whenever he wanted and his ability to slip many of the punches.
In the seventh round, Kovalev threw twice as many punches but his punches were jabs whereas Alvarez connected on power punches. Even in the eighth and ninth round, Kovalev connected on nearly twice as many punches over those two rounds but majority of those punches were left jabs whereas Alvarez connected on 20 power punches over those two rounds versus 14 by Kovalev.
Kovalev has the word Krusher on his trunks but it was Alvarez who was the real krusher. In the Eleventh round, this became obvious as Kovalev won the first two minutes with his jabbing and activity, but a left hook shook Kovalev and a right hand ended the bout. Alvarez proved to be the power puncher.
Kovalev has lost four out of his last eight fights, three of those losses by knock outs. Kovalev is no longer the elite fighter and part of this reason is that he has been in enough wars and those wars have played a role mentally. Compared Kovalev in his first fight with Andre Ward when he knocked Ward down early that fight and fought a more aggressive fight. In the second half of that Ward went to the body and weaken Kovalev. Ward showed the way to beat Kovalev, hit the body again and again. In their second bout, Ward knocked Kovalev out in the eighth round. Kovalev did win his title back, but lost it to a knock out to Eleider Alvarez before winning it back again.
Alvarez showed that he is very good fighter and now has a light heavyweight title to go with his junior Middleweights, Middleweight and Super Middleweight champions. Alvarez has options and he can go into any division from Middleweight to light Heavyweight. He is a big draw and while many want to see a rematch between Alvarez and Triple G’s Golovkin for the Middleweight title, Alvarez has a lot of options including undefeated Russian fighters Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev for light heavyweight and Callum Smith, an undefeated Super Middleweight. My own view is that Triple G’s is the biggest money makers and that may determine which fight gets done.