By Sean Jones: Saul Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) will be stepping out of his comfort zone in moving up two weight classes to challenge WBO light heavyweight belt holder Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) on November 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be shown on DAZN.

Canelo will need to bulk up a little. He won’t need to gain as much as some people think, considering he’s already a huge guy. Some fans feel that Canelo is a short light heavyweight, who melts down to fight at 160 and 168.

It says a lot about Canelo that he’s willing to go up to light heavyweight to challenge Kovalev for his title. While Kovalev isn’t the best fighter at 175, he’s still a top 10 guy. This writer sees Kovalev below these fighters:

  1.  Dmitry Bivol
  2. Artur Beterbiev
  3. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  4. Marcus Browne
  5. Gilberto Ramirez
  6. Callum Johnson
  7. Jesse Hart
  8. Badou Jack

Canelo vs. Kovalev is supposed to be at 175

This fight will be at the full weight for the light heavyweight division at 175 without a catchweight. A lot of boxing fans are expecting Canelo to have a weight handicap  for this match, but thus far there’s no weight restrictions. Canelo won’t get credit if he drains Kovalev down to beat him by forcing him to accept a catchweight or a rehydration clause.

It would be difficult to take Canelo seriously if the Kovalev fight took place at a catchweight or if it had a rehydration limit. Putting a cap on how much both fighters could gain back after making weight would negatively impact the 6’0″ Kovalev more so, because he’s a natural light heavyweight.

The fight still isn’t a done deal though despite talk of it being finalized. It’s big news nonetheless, because the promoters for the two stars have been working on putting together the fight for sometime.

Kovalev almost lost his last fight against Yarde

Recently, the negotiations were interrupted due the 36-year-old Kovalev needing to make a title defense of his World Boxing Organization title against his mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) on August 24 at the Traktor Sport Palace, in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Kovalev was within a whisper of being knocked out in round 8, but somehow he willed himself through it. In the 11th, Kovalev knocked out Yarde with a jab.

Kovalev was hurt by the body shots from Yarde. The British fighter started landing body shots in the 7th. He continued to hammer away at Kovalev’s body in the 8th. Yarde had Kovalev looking like a wilted flower in the 8th round. However, Yarde gassed out in that round, and had nothing left for the remainder of the fight. Kovalev then came on and knocked Yarde out in the 11th.

Kovalev will have problems with Canelo’s body punching

Canelo is a very good body puncher, and he’s not going to gas out quickly. Further, Canelo won’t stop throwing to the body the way that Yarde did. That’s the thing about Canelo. He’s smart, and he sticks to a game plan well without deviating. Yarde fought like he had no sense at all. He wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do in attacking the body early on. When Yarde finally did start attacking Kovalev’s body in the 7th, he failed to stick with it. Yarde fought like he wanted to lose.

Canelo and Kovalev are looking to finalize the fight for November 2, according to @MikeCoppinger for Las Vegas, Nevada. This city has become Canelo’s favorite for his mega-fights. He fought Gennady Golovkin in Vegas twice. In both fights, many boxing fans felt that the Kazakhstan fighter should have won. Some believe that Canelo unbeatable while fighting in Las Vegas when it comes to matches that go to the cards.

Canelo vs. Kovalev could wind up at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

It’s likely the Canelo-Kovalev fight will wind up at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. One can only hope that the match doesn’t end in controversy the way Canelo’s two fights with GGG, and his fights against Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout did. Canelo arguably could have lost all four of those fights.

Canelo fought well in winning his last fight in beating IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs by a 12 round unanimous decision in a unification match last May in Las Vegas.

As quick as Canelo won the IBF belt, he was stripped by the International Boxing Federation after he was unable to iron out a deal to defend against his mandatory Sergiy Derevyanchenko in time.  Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) will be looking to take advantage of Canelo’s bad fortune by battling the 33-year-old Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF title next month on October 5 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.

GGG is the favorite to win that fight, and take back his IBF title that was stripped from him last year. Golovkin failed to defend against Derevyanchenko, who was his mandatory a year ago, because he was in negotiations with Canelo at the time. Canelo didn’t want to fight GGG a third time, even though there’s still a tremendous amount of interest from fans in seeing them against each other.

Kovalev a decent substitute for the Canelo-GGG 3 fight that fans want

Canelo is arguably being stubborn about it, and putting pressure on himself by not giving DAZN the fight that wanted. This is one of the reasons why Canelo is taking the drastic step of moving up to 175 to challenge Kovalev for his title. With Canelo rejecting a third fight with Golovkin, he had to take on a good opponent. Kovalev fits that role. The Russian fighter is popular enough in the U.S to attract a lot of new subscribers to DAZN. He’s a good stop gap opponent to bide DAZN over until Canelo finally steps up to the plate and takes on GGG for the trilogy match.