Saturday night, Canelo Alvarez defeated Sergey Kovalev with an 11th round knockout, stripping him of his light heavyweight world title before the crowd of over 14,000 that was gathered inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
With the win, Alvarez, who is already the current middleweight world champion, earned a world title in a fourth division. He is now only the third former junior middleweight to also win a belt in the light heavyweight division, making for a difference of 21 pounds. He joins the company of International Boxing Hall Of Fame Alumni Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Mike McCallum.
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On the scorecards, two judges found him in favor 96-94 with the third scoring the matchup 95-95.
“I’m very thankful,” said Alvarez. “This is just a step in my career, in my history, and all I ask of you is to be patient because Canelo will make history. That’s a guarantee.”
The fight was initially delayed due to the fact that UFC 244 was also going on across the way in New York City. To avoid any conflict, Alvarez and Kovalev did not begin until 1:18 a.m to accommodate broadcaster DAZN’s streaming and subscriber aspirations. In the meantime, MGM Grand sought and obtained permission from ESPN to broadcast the UFC matchup on its screens for fans waiting inside the arena.
“I was tired after Round 6 because I had my last fight very close to this one,” Kovalev, who defeated challenger Anthony Yarde on August 24th, admitted at the end of the bout. “But it’s OK. It’s a new experience for me. Canelo is really a great champion. I didn’t recover from my last fight. But it’s OK. Thanks for the fight, Canelo. I have big respect for him. He made history.”