Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev official for November 2 in Las Vegas
The worst kept secret in boxing is out.
Sergey Kovalev will defend his WBO light heavyweight title against middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 2.
Alvarez, The Ring and WBA titleholder at 160 pounds, made the announcement via his official Instagram account:
“I’m happy to announce I’ll be moving up 2 categories to face one of the most powerful adversaries in this division. November 2nd at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas will be one of the biggest challenges in my career. Let’s make history together and become 4x World Champion.”
If successful, Alvarez will take a major swipe at history. Sugar Ray Robinson came close to accomplishing the feat in 1952, but searing heat, combined with a larger opponent, got the better of the pound-for-pound legend.
“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Alvarez in a press release. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”
The only Mexican to ever claim a light heavyweight title is the late Julio Gonzalez, who defeated Dariusz Michalczewski in October 2003 for the very belt that will be on the line in Las Vegas.
Kovalev, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 175 pounds, is coming off an 11th-round stoppage of mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde last month. The hard-hitting Russian, who has competed in the light heavyweight division since turning professional a decade ago, will be taking part in his 17th world title bout.
“In order to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kovalev said. “I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”
Editor’s note: In this piece, Canelo Alvarez is quoted as saying he would become a “4x World Champion” if he defeats Sergey Kovalev. The Ring, however, do not recognize the WBA “regular” super middleweight title that Alvarez annexed by stopping Rocky Fielding in December 2018.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing