Monday, July 22, 2024  |



Opinion: Takeaways from Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev card

The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC middleweight champion/WBO light heavyweight titlist Canelo Alvarez
Fighters Network

First off, before we move forward, let’s all get a handle on start times.

For a main event to start after 1 a.m. East Coast time, that simply seems silly.

Think about it: In what other sphere does the thing you came to see start at 1 a.m.?

A jiggle joint?

No…MLB, NFL and NBA don’t do this.

And yes, we know boxing is that different animal but can the powers that be get on the same page as patrons and look to start main events no later than 11 p.m. ET?

John Skipper, Joe Markowski, any other deciders who want to weigh in, you have the platform on the next “Talkbox” podcast, to explain your thinking. Please do this because the Canelo Alvarez versus Sergey Kovalev bout for the WBO light heavyweight title ended closer to 2 a.m. than 1 a.m. on Sunday morning. And no, you can’t spin me and tell me this is ideal because you picked up copious subs who decided to buy DAZN after the UFC Nick Diaz-Jorge Masvidal main event ended. Show me the printout; show me the documents to prove it, otherwise I call bullshit, all due respect.

Now, rant over…What are the other top takeaways to the November 2 promotion topped by Canelo Alvarez’s attempt to conquer (or at least make a grand impact on) another weight division?

HE’S NO. 1? Where do you slot Alvarez now among all practitioners? Is he better than The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford and The Ring Magazine/IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue? You dig his resume more than theirs or do you choose your pound-for-pound best based on arsenal of skills more than wins collected? Regardless he’s in the Top 3; no one will doubt you if you offer that when asked.

FAN OF “KRUSHER’S” GAMEPLAN? That right hand, where was that? Was it hurt? Or was it simply the game plan crafted by trainer Buddy McGirt to go jab heavy and basically look to jab to victory? You could argue that it wouldn’t have a been a smart call, being that Canelo is the cash cow in Vegasm, thus would get every benefit of the doubt in close rounds – which basically all 10 completed were at MGM Grand. But how about this? McGirt’s blueprint proved to impress judges, being that two had it 96-94 and one saw it knotted, at 95-95, at the time of the ending, two minutes plus into the 11th. Here’s why we saw Kovalev fight as he did: He and McGirt decided to acknowledge aging, how reflexes dim. They knew Alvarez’s left hook would land snappy and often when Krusher unholstered the right hand, so they didn’t give him that look. Was that frustratng for folks who thought the “old” Kovalev would step up and exert a power edge? Yep. His power was of a lower grade than Canelo’s and, by the way, Canelo isn’t an A-grade power-puncher. I won’t fault McGirt’s plan; if the Russian had opened up earlier, Canelo would have hit the “go” button and probably succeeded at his flurry-fest and stopped Sergey rounds earlier. “To open my body less, I had to use more jabs, more safe,” Kovalev told us after the L was announced.

Canelo Alvarez (right) vs. Sergey Kovalev. Photo credit: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez (right) vs. Sergey Kovalev. Photo credit: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

GRACEFUL LOSER: Kovalev was loose and upbeat this fight week. He had that weigh-in hiccup, which he explained to Chris Mannix was taken care of by doing a No. 2 after the over-the-weight scale sesh. TMI…

Post-fight, he proved to be charming in defeat, giving Canelo ample credit. He did offer a bit of an “explanation,” however: “I was tired after round six because I had my last fight very close to this one but it’s OK. It’s a new experience for me. Canelo is really a great champion. A little bit right now, I didn’t recover from my last fight but it’s OK. Thanks for the fight, Canelo. I have big respect for him. He made history,” the 36-year-old boxer said. Not sure how much he was searching for a rationalization with that “explanation.” Maybe the turnaround after the Anthony Yarde fight, on August 29, was too quick but a glob of money will cheer him up. Next up, I think Kovalev has some legal matters to face, so hopefully that smooths out and, moving forward, he avoids situations which leave him open for attack in the law enforcement realm.

BLOCK TALK: You – hey you – the one screaming that Kovalev took a dive. Get a handle on yourself; smarten up. That is not what a dive looks like. You don’t allow that to happen to your head and body when you are looking to throw a fight. THINK!

What would entice Sergey to throw a bout? What would be the dividend?

He’s already getting paid a massive sum; he will leave with like $5 milion netted. Only a greedy ninny or someone into some bad folks would try to get more loot and risk being exposed. So no. That wasn’t a dive; that was a legit knockout. Stop engaging in silly conspiracy shit and grow up.

Seniesa Estrada (left) vs. Marlen Esparza. Photo by Tom Hogan

Seniesa Estrada (left) vs. Marlen Esparza. Photo by Tom Hogan

A CUT ABOVE: The gash that Marlen Esparza had on her hairline was nauseating. It looked like you’d need a spool of thread to close that up…The boxer told the ringside doc she couldn’t see, so the plug was pulled on her fight with Seniesa Estrada. Then there was confusion because usually, in that case, the doc tells the ref to end the fight. However when referee Robert Byrd asked Esparza about her condition, she indicated that she was compromised and then Byrd ended the fight. Doesn’t matter if the doc or the fighter pulls that plug. Unified rules say we go to the cards after four rounds completed. Oh yeah; Esparza told fans that she only needed 20 stitches to close the cut. However you could see white in there; that was skull matter. Shouldn’t that be grounds to halt a fight in this era? Also, in this women’s bout, they did three-minute rounds. What did you think of that?

Ryan Garcia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ryan Garcia. Photo credit: Getty Images

KINGRY IS THE GUY: Ryan Garcia got props from doubters and pros alike, when he took out Romero Duno. Also some conspiracy theorists thought maybe Duno dove because they had a hard time seeing what hurt the Filipino so gravely. I think the left on top of the head was placed perfectly, hit the right spot on the top of his skull and he lost his equilibrium.

What do you want next for the California kid? Are some of you still holding out and are not willing to concede that the kid might turn out to be more than a social media standout?

THEATER, EXPECTED: This was a memorable promotion. You had the Athletic story blowing up, with Canelo taking shots at Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya, that hung over the event late in the week. Then the massive wait for the main event had social media exploding…and the surprise stoppage gave that conclusive finish which headed off a “The judges suck tailpipes” end-game brouhaha that is way too common. Boxing always manages to stir the pot in different ways, eh?



You can follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.




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