Unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez's fall return finally has a date, opponent and location.
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), the Mexican superstar who is among the pound-for-pound best in the sport, will move up two weight classes to challenge WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) on Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mike Coppinger of The Athletic was the first to report the news.
#CaneloKovalev Es oficial. Estoy feliz de anunciar que subiré 2 categorías para enfrentar a uno de los rivales más poderosos de esta división . Este 02 de Noviembre será uno de los mayores retos de mi carrera. Vamos a hacer historia juntos. Vamos por 4x World Champion @DAZN_USA pic.twitter.com/0dAaG4Y3Yt— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) September 13, 2019
The confusion and ultimate delay in Alvarez announcing his second fight of 2019 began when he refused to face former champion Gennady Golovkin for a much-anticipated trilogy bout despite expectations from the streaming service DAZN, which signed both stars to giant contracts.
"The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that's why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing," Alvarez said via ESPN. "That's also why I've decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years.
"Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he's naturally the bigger man, but that's the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face."
Alvarez, 29, eventually announced he would not fight on his typical September date in Las Vegas during Mexican Independence Day Weekend and was rumored to be negotiating with a number of opponents. Along the way, he was stripped of his IBF title for failing to accept a fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (who will now face Golovkin on Oct. 5 for the vacant title) while Alvarez's relationship with promoter Golden Boy reportedly began to fall apart. DAZN ultimately approved Kovalev as an opponent and will stream the bout as Alvarez looks to capture a world title in his fourth division.
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Kovalev, 36, originally turned down a last-minute offer so that he could defend his title last month in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. "The Krusher" was nearly stopped in Round 8 but hung on to finish off mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde three rounds later.
Although Kovalev is decidedly past his prime, he remains dangerous due to his advantages in size and power against Alvarez, along with his ability to box. Alvarez hasn't fought since he outpointed Daniel Jacobs in their May middleweight unification bout. Last December, Alvarez moved up to 168 pounds to easily claim a secondary world title from Rocky Fielding by TKO.