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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Canelo Established As Favorite
To Dethrone Sergey Kovalev

By Daniel Cloutier
Photo: Marlene Marquez


LAS VEGAS — If the Las Vegas bookies hit the target, the Mexican Saul Canelo Alvarez will dethrone the Russian Sergey Kovalev as WBO light heavyweight (175 pounds) champion of the world Saturday evening in the ring of the MGM Arena in Las Vegas. The bookies established Canelo favorite by 4-1.

And it will be the first time that Alvarez will fight in the light heavyweight division. Alvarez is WBC and WBA middleweight (160 pounds) champion of the world. If Alvarez becomes WBO light heavyweight champion of the world, he will be the fourth Mexican fighter to win a world championship in a fourth weight’s division.

The promoter of this event, the former champion of the world Oscar De La Hoya, the big boss of Golden Boy Promotions organization, believes that Canelo will reach his goal: the conquest of a world title in a fourth weight division. De La Hoya is Canelo’s promoter.

At the weigh in supervised by the WBO championship committee and the Nevada Athletic Commission, Canelo posted an official weight of 174.5 pounds, versus 175.3 for Kovalev. The Nevada Athletic Commission gave one hour to Kovalev lose only 3 ounces. He did in minutes.

“I cannot be more ready for this challenge,” said Canelo just before the weigh in. “It’s the most important fight of my pro boxing career, and believe me, I won't disappoint my fans. I know I have the determination, the motivation and the preparation to win this historic fight. I got a perfect training camp, then, I am prepared mentally, physically, technically and strategically to face this challenge. My fans are expecting to see me win this fight, and I will make them happy. I know I have the power and the technic to put Kovalev in trouble. In provoking inside fighting, I know I will dominate the action with my body shots and head shots. I will have the control of the action. In becoming world champion in a fourth weight division, I will be more popular than ever in Mexico.”

Kovalev, like his opponent, believes he will be in the winning’s side. “Alvarez can think he will be in the winning’s corner, I can tell you he is wrong,” said Kovalev. “I am the best light heavyweight in the world, and I am determined to prove it Saturday evening. I know I have the determination, the experience, the technique and the power to win this bout. I will use my jabs, and I will connect my power shots at the right time. I did it at my last two bouts against the Montrealer Eleider Alvarez and the British Anthony Yarde, and I dominated the action and won these fights.”

Kovalev’s trainer, the former world champion Buddy McGirt, is not worried at all for his fighter. “Sergey got a perfect preparation, and when his motivation is at the top, like it is now, I know he will be in the winning corner,” said McGirt. “I am positive that my fighter will offer us a splendid performance Saturday evening. His motivation is at the top.”

Canelo’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, replied: “Canelo is considering this bout as the most significant fight of his career, and I am positive he will offer us a marvelous performance Saturday evening. He prepared himself perfectly for this fight, mentally, physically and technically. and I really believe he will get out of the ring with the WBO light heavyweight on his shoulder.”

The referee of the main event will be Russell Mora, from Las Vegas, and the judges will be Dave Moretti, also from Las Vegas, Julie Lederman, from New York and Don Trella, from Connecticut.

The important bouts presented before the main event, will involved the Californians Ryan Garcia and Seniesa Estrada, Blair Cobbs from Las Vegas, the Russian Bakhram Murtazaliev and Meiirim Nursultanov, from Kazakstan.

Garcia (18-0-0) will face another Californian, Romero Duno (21-1-0) in a vacant WBC Silver lightweight (135 pounds) championship and a NABO North American championship (12 rounds), Estrada, a female, will fight the Texan Marlen Esparza (7-0-0) for the vacant WBA Interim female flyweight (112 pounds) championship (10 rounds), Cobbs will challenge the Mexican Carlos Ortiz (11-4-0) in a vacant NABF welterweight (147 pounds) North American championship (10 rounds), Murtazaliev will be opposed to the Spanish Jorge Fortea (20-1-1) in an IBF super welterweight (154 pounds) elimination bout (12 rounds), and Nursultanov (12-0-0) will face the Mexican Cristian Olivas (16-5-0) in a WBC USNBC middleweight (160 pounds) championship (10 rounds).

The fighters involved in the first preliminaries bouts in the evening will be the super welterweight Evan Holyfield, from Atlanta, the Texan cruiserweight (190 pounds) Tristan Kalkreuth and the Californian Russian light heavyweight (175 pounds) Bektemir Melikuziev.

Holyfield will make his pro debut in fighting Nick Winstead (0-1-0), from Louisiana, Kalkreuth (2-0-0) will face Town Smith (3-3-0), from Oklahoma City, and Melikuziev (2-0-0) will challenge Clay Collard (4-1-3), from Las Vegas.

The fights Holyfield-Wiunstead and Kalkreuth-Smtih are scheduled for four rounds, and the bout Melikuziev-Collard will be eight rounders.

At the weigh in, Garcia posted an official weight of 135 pounds, Duno 135, Estrada 110.5, Esparza 111, Cobbs 147, Ortiz 146, Murtazaliev 154, Fortea 153.5, Nursultanov 160, Olivas 160, Holyfield 154, Winstead 156, Kalkreuth 188, Smith 188.5, Melikuziev 174.5 and finally Collard 171.8 pounds.

Winstead was overweight by two pounds, and he got one hour to lose these two pounds. We will know Saturday morning if he will get a fine or not.


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