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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Kovalev Established Favorite To Win,
But Alvarez Is Ready To Suffer To Win

By Daniel Cloutier

ATLANTIC CITY - What is the destiny for the Montrealer Colombian Eleider Alvarez? Win his first world championship bout in pro boxing or suffer of his first defeat in pro boxing?

We will have the answer in few hours.

Saturday evening in the ring of the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino in Atlantic City, Alvarez (23-0-0) will try to dethrone the Russian Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) as WBO light heavyweight champion of the world. The event will be televise by HBO.

According the Las Vegas bookies, Kovalev is established favorite by 4-1.

Alvarez, who was the mandatory challenger for the WBC 175 pounds world title for more than two years, will be involved in the first world championship fight of his pro boxing career. “It’s my dream since so many years to become world champion, and finally, I have this opportunity,” said Alvarez.” I waited more than two years to fight Adonis Stevenson (the WBC champion), but I never got my chance. Fortunately, Kovalev is giving my chance. I really believe I gonna be WBO world champion in few hours. I know that Kovalev is a great fighter, he is a very strong puncher, he is extremely strong physically, but I really believe I have the technique, offensively and defensively, to surprise him and dethrone him. I presume I will suffer in some rounds, but trust me, I am ready to face these difficulties to win the fight. It's the greatest opportunity of my boxing career, an opportunity that I cannot waste. I got a so great preparation for this event, I cannot wait the moment I will get out of my dressing room to walk to the ring. I have a lot of respect for Kovalev, but it’s now my time… my time to become world champion. I am really at my peak now, then, I am disputing this world title fight at the right moment. In few hours, I will celebrate the biggest moment of my life.”

Kovalev seems very calm at few hours of the defence of his world title. “I got a marvelous preparation, then, I am sure I will deliver a great performance Saturday evening,” said Kovalev at the weigh in.” As I said, if the Alvarez’s clan believes I am declining and I am close to retirement, these people will get a hell of a surprise Saturday evening. I am positive I have the energy, the power, the experience and the technique to stay WBO light heavyweight champion of the world. I proved in my last two fights I still a very competitive champion. For sure, I am extremely motivate and confident for this bout.”

In 2016 and 2017, Kovalev lost two fights in a row (TKO and unanimous decision) against the great Californian fighter Andre Ward (32-0-0), but at his last two fights, Kovalev beat the Russian Igor Mikhlakin (21-2-0) and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2-0), both by TKO.

At the weigh in held Friday afternoon on the beach beside the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino, on the supervision of the WBO championship committee, Kovalev posted an official weight of 174 pounds, versus 174.4 for Alvarez.

Just before the main event, the WBA light heavyweight champion of the world, the Russian Dmitry Bivol (13-0-0), will proceed to the defence of his title against the South African Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2).
Chilemba fought in Montréal in 2015, and he lost by majority decision of the judges against…. Eleider Alvarez.

“I will fight like hell to keep my WBA crown, and after this event, I hope to fight for the light heavyweight unification world titles,” said Bivol. “I am sure I have the skills and the maturity to become unify champion of the world. It’s certainly not by accident that I became WBA world champion at my 11th pro bout.”

Bivol will probably challenge the winner of the fight Kovalev-Alvarez if he beats Chilemba.

Chilemba replied to Bivol: “I want so much to become world champion, I will fight with all my energies and my intelligence to surprise Bivol. I know that Bivol is an excellent fighter and a powerful puncher, but I have more experience than him, and it will make the difference in the result of the bout.”

At the weigh in, Bivol posted an official weight of 174.6 pounds, versus 175 for Chilemba.

The preliminaries bouts of the evening will involved the Russian super welterweight Bakhram Murtazaliev (12-0-0), the New Yorker super welterweight Frank Galarza (19-2-2), the lightweight Karl Dargan (17-1-0), from Philadelphia, the middleweight Meirim Nursultonov (7-0-0), from Kazakstan, the super welterweight Madivar Ashkenev (9-0-0), also from Kazakstan, and the super welterweights Vaugh Alexander (12-0-0), from St-Louis, Missouri, Enriko Gogokhia (7-0-0), from the Republic of Georgia, and Ismael Villerreal (2-0-0), from New York.

Murtazaliev will fight the Mexican Fernando Carcamo (23-8-0), Galarza will face the New Yorker Alex Duarte (13-5-1), Dargan will meet the Colombian Jonathan Perez (37-22-0), Nursultanov will be opposed to the Dominican Jonathan Batiista (17-14-0), Ashkenev will fight Eduardo Flores (24-29–4), from Ecuador, Alexander will challenge Denis Doughlin (19-6-0), from Malboro, New Jersey, Gogokhia will meet the Colombian Ronald Montes (18-9-0) and finally, Villerreal will fight Kieran Hooks (3-0-1), from Philadelphia.


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