By Chris Williams: WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev’s trainer James ‘Buddy’ McGirt says they’re going to make sure that Saul Canelo Alvarez think twice each time he considers coming in range to land to the body. McGirt is going to make sure that Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) is jabbing Canelo hard, and hitting him with shots anywhere on his body to keep him off. It’ll be up to Canelo to prove that he can avoid the shots from Kovalev aimed at his torso. Leaning backwards might not work for Canelo if Kovalev’s shots are targeting his midsection. Canelo’s head will be out of range, but not his midsection.
McGirt says they’re not worrying about hitting Canelo to the head. All the head movement that Canelo likes to use in his fights will be wasted against Kovalev. If he doesn’t figure out how to move his torso, he’s got to get hit a lot by Kovalev.
Kovalev is almost 4 to 1 underdog in the fight with the odds-makers. A lot of boxing fans are predicting that Canelo will stop Kovalev with body shots, as he Andre Ward KO’d him with a body shot in 2017. Further, Anthony Yarde hurt Kovalev with body shots last August in their fight in Russia.
Saul Alvarez will be dealing with Kovalev’s body shots
Canelo’s head movement doesn’t worry McGirt, because he wants to make sure that Kovalev is targeting areas where the Mexican star has no chances of ducking. Canelo is a wide body, and he’s easy to hit to the torso and body. In Canelo’s two fights with Gennady Golovkin, he didn’t have to worry about getting hit to the body, because he never attempted to hit him there. In the first fight, Golovkin threw a body shot, and Canelo turned his back so that punch could hit him there. The referee failed to notice what Canelo had done, and he gave GGG a warning for hitting him on the back.
Kovalev will hit Canelo everywhere on to the body in first six rounds
“I was excited, because in boxing the best are supposed to fight the best; not the best fighting the easiest guy for the most money,” said Kovalev’s trainer Buddy McGirt to secondsout about Canelo. “That’s the school I came from. The best fight the best, and I respect Canelo for moving up to fight him. It’s going to be a great night of boxing. They’re going to have a different train of thought on November 2nd,” says McGirt when told that many boxing fans think that Canelo picked Kovalev because he’s an easy fight. “I can’t really answer that, because I can’t think for them. I don’t know,” said McGirt when asked why Canelo chose Kovalev to fight. “But at the same time they could be fighting him, because he’s the best at light heavyweight. We started camp yesterday.
“The key is to be the better man that night. Not the stronger man, but the better man. Being smart. What we have to do is make him think twice about coming in, and going to the body. We’re going to hit him everywhere between his neck and his waist. I’m not worrying about his head. We’re going to hit him everywhere on his body for the first five or six rounds. I know he’s going to try and out-box him,” said McGirt about Canelo.
It’s pretty obvious why Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions picked Kovalev. They think they can beat him. The guys that Canelo doesn’t choose to fight are the ones that you have to suspect that he’s not confident about beating. It’s normal though for fighters to cherry pick their opponents in this day and age. Canelo shouldn’t be blamed for taking on Kovalev instead of Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev. That would be a dumb move for Canelo to fight either of those guys at 175, because they would likely beat him as easily as they’ve been doing to their opposition.
Throwing shots to the torso could work well for Kovalev, because he’ll hit something if he targets that area. At the same time, it’ll be difficult for Canelo to get close to Kovalev, because he’ll be getting hit with his power jab and right hands. Canelo will need to duck the punches if he’s going to be able to get close.
McGirt says Canelo won’t have an answer for left jab from Kovalev
“I know he’s going to mix his attack up,” said McGirt about Canelo. “Anybody that says anything else is crazy, but we’ve got to be ready for both. That’s the key. We’ve got to be ready for both. We’ve got to make him uncomfortable in both situations. To be honest, I’ve never had any problems with him.
As a matter of fact, when he came to me before the second [Eleider] Alvarez fight, he took full responsibility for his loss. He didn’t blame nobody. He said, ‘I messed up, Buddy. I take the blame.’ So you’ve got to respect a man for that. So I said, ‘Listen, if I ask you for A are you going to give me B or are you going to give me A?’ He said, ‘I’m going to give you A.’ Bam, no problem. We’re just going to continue to do what we do, and then on fight night make the adjustments that we have to make. The left jab,” said McGirt when asked what weapon Kovalev has that Canelo won’t have an answer for on November 2.
Canelo will box and slug with Kovalev, as he always does with his opponents. But if Canelo feels that he has nothing to fear, he’ll walk straight in and land his body shots like he did against Rocky Fielding. Kovalev is going to have to not only throw shots at Canelo’s torso, but he’s also going to need to move his feet to keep from being talked down.
🇲🇽 Este próximo 02 de Noviembre gritaremos ¡Viva México!
— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) September 19, 2019