This Saturday Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) defends his WBO light heavyweight title against Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) in the first professional boxing match at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
Kovalev is ranked #1 in the division at Ring Magazine and #9 pound for pound while Alvarez is the #5 light heavyweight. The fight will air on HBO, along with the WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol's bout against Isaac Chilemba.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez, 12 rounds, for Kovalev's WBO light heavyweight title
Saturday, August 4 at 10:00 PM ET
Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Betting odds at Jazz Sportsbook:
Eleider Alvarez +395
Sergey Kovalev -535
Over 9.5 (-125)
Under 9.5 (+105)
Sergey Kovalev's current place in his career is very interesting to say the least. Two years ago he was considered the top pound for pound fighter in the world but he lost back-to-back fights to Andre Ward (though the first loss was because of a controversial decision and the second included uncalled Ward low blows). Kovalev is 2-0 since knockout wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Igor Mikhalkin, reclaiming one of his titles and he's still seen as the #1 light heavyweight in the world. Still, the losses to Ward haven't been forgotten and his fights since are seen as consolation prizes.
Eleider Alvarez is a legitimate challenger for Kovalev though and he definitely earned a shot at his title. The undefeated boxer from Colombia has competed almost exclusively in Canada (his adopted home) and he's coming off notable wins over Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev and now Alvarez are the only men that have beaten Pascal, so that's a remarkable accomplishment for him.
This is an intriguing fight because it features the top fighter in the division facing an undefeated fighter who deserves the opportunity. Kovalev has the advantage when it comes to power but Alvarez has better defensive skills and he will need them in order to avoid Kovalev's power. I like Alvarez to take Kovalev to the limit, he might not win enough rounds but this fight will go to the final belt.
Boxing Pick: Over 9.5 (-115)
Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb
Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ