By Sean Jones: WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev’s trainer Buddy McGirt says they would be open to a catchweight for a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in November. Golden Boy Promotions hasn’t restarted negotiations with Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), but he’s already showing signs of eagerness to make the fight happen.
Canelo won’t get credit beating Kovalev at catchweight
The downside of Canelo fighting Kovalev at a catchweight is he won’t get credit if he wins. Canelo’s reputation won’t be enhanced if he fights Kovalev with the aid of a catchweight. The casual Boxing fans will be in the dark about the catchweight, but those guys won’t appreciate the win anyway.
“It depends on the weight,” McGirt said to skysports.com when asked if Kovalev would be willing to give Canelo a catchweight.
How low will Kovalev have to go for catchweight?
The question is how low would Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions ask Kovalev to come down in weight for a catchweight. Would it be the halfway point between 168 and 175? If so, then that would be a 170.5-lb catchweight. That would be hard or Kovalev to do, but he could probably make the weight. His performance would likely drop, but that’s besides the point. His goal is to get the fight with Canelo no matter what. A strength draining catchweight would do the job.
Canelo and Golden Boy need to think hard before they take Kovalev up on his offer to fight against a catchweight. We saw how drained and useless Julio Chavez Jr. was for his catchweight fight against Canelo in 2017. Chavez Jr. was so weak from weight loss that he couldn’t throw punches. His performance was so poor on the night that it made Canelo and Golden Boy look bad. Boiling down fighters to gain an advantage against them can backfire, and make the A-side fighter look bad. Chavez Jr. looked physically ill the night of his fight with Canelo from having lost so much weight.
Canelo doesn’t need catchweights for him to succeed, and it’s unclear why he’s used them in the past. Instead of going old school and sticking to the weights for the division, Canelo has sometimes used catchweights. Canelo is far along enough in his career where he shouldn’t need catchweights any longer. The warriors in the past never used catchweights, so why should Canelo?
Golden Boy hasn’t demanded a catchweight – yet
Canelo’s promoters haven’t asked for the catchweight handicap for Canelo yet, and Kovalev is already giving it to them on a silver platter. Unfortunately, the Boxing public is going to see this move by Kovalev and immediately label him as cashing out against Canelo. As such, there’s no gain for Canelo in fighting a guy that is just looking for a payday before walking off into the sunset. The picture of the fight will be Canelo beating up on an old paper champion on his last legs. There’s no gain in that for Canelo. In fact, he’ll end up looking bad for having taken the fight.
If this is just about Kovalev getting a cash out payday before retiring from the sport, then it makes sense for him to give Canelo a catchweight. It obviously looks bad on Canelo’s part if he agrees to it, because he’s supposed to be daring to be great. Canelo is not even calling out the talented light heavyweight champions in Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Dmitry Bivol. Those are the guys that are viewed a the best. Kovalev is seen as a rapidly fading champion, who barely beat an extremely limited fighter last Saturday in Anthony Yarde. The other champions would have likely embarrassed Yarde, and sent him home to England after two or three rounds of one-way punishment. Kovalev almost lost to the guy. That fight showed in crystal clear terms how shot Kovalev is.
— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) August 27, 2019
Sergey giving Canelo a gift catchweight
Kovalev is letting Canelo that he’s willing to restart the negotiations, and apparently give him a catchweight before he’s even asked for it. This move can work one of two ways. Canelo can happily agree to it or he could ask for even more handicaps by insisting on a rehydration clause + a catchweight. That would be a double whammy for Kovalev, because not only would have lose weight for the catchweight, but he’d have to limit fluid intake when rehydrating until the secondary weigh-in the morning of the fight. As history as shown us, appeasement doesn’t always work. In a perfect world, Canelo will turn down Kovalev’s catchweight offer, and tell him that it’s not needed. He’ll fight Kovalev at the full 175-lb weight for the division, and not insist on any weight clauses and such.
Will Canelo be daring to be great by fighting Kovalev at catchweight?
Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs), who is referred to by his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions as “The face of Boxing,” is daring to be great by targeting Kovalev. The Mexican superstar wants to win a world title in his fourth division by going after Kovalev’s WBO 175-pound belt. It looks bad though that Canelo wants the 36-year-old Kovalev rather than the younger champions at 175 that are looking solid.
On Monday there were rumors that Kovalev, 36, wouldn’t be able to fight Canelo on November 2, the date that he and DAZN wants, because it would be quick 10-week tournament round him. Kovalev just fought last Saturday night in stopping mandatory Anthony Yarde in the 11th round in Russia. It was a hard fight. Kovalev’s trainer McGirt and mandatory Egis Klimas reportedly have made it clear that that he’s willig to fight Canelo on November 2, according to Steve Kim. He’ll take the fight with Canelo anyway, even though it means that he’ll need to start training camp next week.
Does Canelo Alvarez need another catchweight?
With Canelo having a history of using catchweights, and weight clauses in his fights to give himself an advantage, Kovalev is volunteering to give a handicap without being asked. It may not be intentional, but Kovalev is making Canelo look bad with his trainer letting the Mexican star know that he can have a catchweight handicap.
The catchweight requests by Canelo and Golden Boy aren’t done in the public. These are things that are negotiated behind closed doors. What Kovalev is doing is basically telling the public that he’ll tie one hand behind his back to give Canelo a handicap so that he feels comfortable enough to take the fight.
Canelo has already been involved in eight catchweight fights in the last six years. His last match against Daniel Jacobs had a rehyration. Does Canelo need another catchweight?
Does Canelo still want to fight Kovalev?
If this is what Kovalev feels he needs to do in order to get the Canelo fight, then you can’t blame him. The 5’8″ Canelo is the smaller fighter, and he’s going to have problems with the 6’0″ Kovalev’s size. It’s possible that Kovalev may have scared Canelo off with his performance last Saturday? In that case, then it makes sense for Kovalev to be volunteering to give Canelo a catchweight. It’s already bad that Kovalev is fighting Canelo with just a 10-week turnaround from his last fight against Yarde.
Canelo’s Boxing fans will argue that he fought former WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding last December on a 12-week turnaround after beating Gennady Golovkin on September 15. That’s not the same as what Kovalev is being asked to do. Fielding was a weak champion at 168, and not particularly talented. He’d been knocked out in the 1st round not long ago by Callum Smith. Kovalev returning to the ring after just 10 weeks to fight a talented guy like Canelo is significant. Kovalev is 36, and that’s not young for a fighter. Canelo is only 29, and it was easier for him to come back after 12 weeks to fight Fielding. Hes a lot younger than Kovalev.