Saul Alvarez makes the leap up two weight divisions this weekend to challenge Sergey Kovalev for the WBO world light-heavyweight title in Las Vegas. The Mexican has been in a class of his own at middleweight but will the step up prove a hurdle too far?

 

Canelo making leap up to light-heavyweight

Canelo is one of the pound for pound superstars in world boxing and the hugely popular Mexican has decided to gamble on a move up to light heavyweight.

The 29-year-old has an exceptional professional record of 52 wins, two draws and only one defeat against the great Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Alvarez is an outstanding boxer and his power has dominated the middleweight division, leading to his move up to 175lbs.

A three-weight world champion, Canelo wants to make history in a fourth division and it is hard to bet against him.

 

After being crowned light-middleweight champion, Alvarez put his titles on the line against Mayweather Jr in 2013 but the undefeated American was just too slick and elusive as he secured a comfortable points win.

Canelo needed to step up in weight and duly won the WBC middleweight title four years ago after a unanimous points win against Miguel Cotto.

Alvarez claimed dominant knockout wins against British boxers Amir Khan and Liam Smith before facing Gennady Golovkin twice.

The first bout in 2017 was hotly disputed, resulting in a split draw despite widespread belief Golovkin was the victor.

Alvarez faced him again last year in Las Vegas and this time claimed the WBC and WBA middleweight belts after edging the contest on points.

The Mexican moved up to super middleweight in December and had too much power for Liverpool boxer Rocky Fielding in New York, winning a version of the WBA world title with a third-round stoppage.

Canelo’s last fight was in May as a narrow points victory against Daniel Jacobs enabled him to unify the middleweight division.

But rather than agree to a trilogy with Golovkin, Alvarez has set his sights on success at light-heavyweight.

 

Kovalev’s power is a threat

Kovalev has built a reputation as a fearsome puncher although the Russian’s career in the ring is surely entering the final years.

The 36-year-old boasts a record of 34 victories, one draw and three defeats from his career.

Krusher first came to prominence with his fourth-round stoppage of Nathan Cleverly in 2013 which secured the WBO light-heavyweight title in Cardiff.

Kovalev lost his unbeaten record three years ago, somewhat harshly, losing his world titles on points to Andre Ward despite a second-round knockdown. The 2017 Vegas rematch did not go to plan with the Russian stopped in the eighth round.

He suffered another setback last year after a shock seventh-round defeat to Eleider Alvarez. But he avenged this loss in February, claiming a points victory.

Kovalev was last seen in August as he successfully defended his WBO belt in Russia with an 11th round knockout against Anthony Yarde. This certainly did not tell the full story though, with the London boxer almost stopping the champion in the eighth round.

 

Alvarez v Kovalev: The verdict

Despite the jump up in weight, Canelo is still the overwhelming 1/4 favourite to win a world title at light-heavyweight.

Champion Kovalev is 10/3 to hold on to his belt and it is 4/6 for the fight to go the distance.

Although Kovalev has a significant height and reach advantage, Canelo’s outstanding hand speed and boxing skills should still prove the difference.

The Mexican has seen weaknesses which can be exposed and will fully expect to walk away as the new champion.

Canelo is the master of winning on the scorecards and four of his last five fights have gone to the judges.

It is possible the challenger takes advantage of Kovalev’s fatigue with a late stoppage but a points victory for Canelo looks the best bet at Evens.

Alvarez to win by decision or technical decision

Any odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of posting

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