By Allan Fox: The fans are going to find soon if Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev if today, is anything near what he was six years ago when he defends his WBO light heavyweight title against Saul Canelo Alvarez on November 2. Kovalev’s chances of winning ride on whether he can locate the fabled Found of Youth to drink from it’s rejuvenating waters to bring him back his long lost youth.
Kovalev cashing out against Canelo says Ward
Former Kovalev conqueror Andre ‘SOG’ Ward believes that the ‘Krusher’ is just looking to “cash out” before he hangs up his gloves, and he sees him getting knocked out in the later rounds. That doesn’t mean that the 36-year-old Kovalev won’t try and beat Canelo Alvarez, but it does suggest that he’ll likely come up empty-handed at the end of the night.
Ward sees Canelo, 29, stopping Kovalev by the 11th round. He thinks Kovalev’s best chance of winning is by an early knockout. If that fails to happen, he’ll tire out, and get stopped by Canelo late. Kovalev can’t take body shots, and he doesn’t know how to defend on the inside, says Ward.
“There’s a lot of variables, but right now I’m leaning towards Canelo Alvarez,” said Ward to Max on Boxing in giving Canelo the edge. “Sergey Kovalev is no longer the Krusher. He’s simply Sergey Kovalev. He by himself is still a dangerous guy. He’s still tough, but it’s only for the first half of the fight. If Canelo Alvarez doesn’t go overboard, and try and put on an enormous amount of weight and mass, I think he’s going to wear Kovalev down. Everybody knows, Kovalev cannot take it to the body nor does he know how to defend himself when someone comes inside,” said Ward.
Kovalev had a rough patch in rounds 7 and 8 in his last fight against Anthony Yarde, but he fought well after that in stopping him in the 11th. It was Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) who ran out of gas in their fight on August 24 in Russia. Ward might be making the mistake of judging Kovalev critically from his first fight against the Russian in 2016. Ward tired Kovalev out by grappling with him on the inside.
Canelo stops Kovalev late says Ward
“I can see Canelo stopping Sergey Kovalev late, somewhere around the 11th or 12th round, because Kovalev is in his mid-30s,” said Ward. “This is a cash out fight for him. I’m sure he’s going to try to win, but he’s not the Krusher anymore. It’s as simple as that. He’s had tough fights. He’s had a tough lifestyle outside the ring. I’m leaning towards Canelo for a late round stoppage,” said Ward.
Ward is forgetting that Canelo has been gassing out in the second half of his recent fights against Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. In all three of those fights, Canelo built up leads in the first half, but then lost rounds after gassing in the second half of the matches.
With Canelo likely bulking up a little bit for the Kovalev fight, it’s going to negatively impact his already shaky stamina, and cause him to gas in the second half. So unless Canelo scores a knockout in the first six rounds, he’s going to have problems with Kovalev in the later rounds.
It won’t be Canelo that’ll be super strong late. Kovalev’s power jab could be a big problem for Canelo, because he’s struggled against longer-armed fighters that used their jab against him. Canelo is a counter puncher, and he absolutely needs his opponents to throw power shots for him to land his counter blows. Canelo couldn’t do that in his first fight with Golovkin.
Ward doubts Canelo will call him out
“I don’t think Canelo would ever do that,” said Ward when asked if Canelo will call him out for a fight if he beats Kovalev. “I don’t think Canelo or Oscar [De La Hoya] would ever say my name. He’s said my name in the media, but not to the magnitude of a call out or anything like that,” said Ward.
Canelo would be showing bravery in calling out Ward after the Kovalev fight, but he probably won’t do it.