START SPREADING THE NEWS — The rebuilding of former unified world light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev continues August 4 in Atlantic City at the soon to be open Hard Rock Hotel & Casino; a boxing rich entertainment venue formerly known as the Trump Taj Mahal.
Kovalev, the 35-year-old defending WBO light heavyweight champion (32-2-1 with 28 knockouts) will face undefeated 34-year-old Colombian stylist Eleider “Storm” Alvarez at the Etess Arena on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Named after the late Mark Grossinger Etess, a former Trump Plaza COO who died tragically in a 1989 helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of two other Trump casino executives, the arena originally opened in 1990 and now holds six thousand, an upgrade of one thousand seats.
“This will be Sergey’s fourteenth world title fight,” stated affable Main Events CEO Kathy Duva of her still potent promotional centerpiece. “I believe the Krusher still has a few more thrills to give us before he calls it a career.”
This is a high risk, low reward fight for Kovalev that has the potential to go all wrong for him. It’s also a big middle finger to a certain southpaw called Superman. Main Events officially announced the bout Saturday afternoon May 12 at the famed Hard Rock Cafe in New York City just hours before Vasyl Lomachenko knocked out Jorge Linares at nearby Madison Square Garden in a thrilling ‘Fight of the Year’ performance by both boxers.
But don’t expect a knockout or an ass kicking like that this summer in Atlantic City. These respectful light heavyweight sportsmen are talking about their jabs and their boxing skills.
Kovalev and Alvarez addressed the ravenous international boxing media on a busy weekend for the Sweet Science down in Manhattan that also included the 93rd annual Boxing Writers Association of America awards dinner at the Copacabana in Times Square.
The pair were on their best behavior for their very friendly promoters Kathy Duva and Yvon Michel who each share a long history of co-promotion in their respective parts of the world. There was no bad blood present and I heard no bad words spoken by either fighter. At one point during their time together on the promotional dais, Kovalev actually flashed a two-fingered peace sign at Alvarez.
“He’s a nice and polite guy,” said the Russian Kovalev of the much darker skinned Colombian “Storm” Alvarez. Roundtabled boxing writers pestered both boxers for specific knockout round predictions but to no avail. “No predictions,” insisted Kovalev.
“My goal is to show boxing fans my great performance, my best boxing, and what I can do in the ring. I don’t have any negative feelings for this person.” So much for that theory huh?
“It is not my goal to knock him out.”
Alvarez feels the same way.
“I’m a classic boxer with a long reach and a powerful jab who likes to go twelve rounds,” offered the dapperly dressed Felix Trinidad-lookalike in his own defense. “And for the record, I did not take any Stevenson step aside money. That is a misconception by the American press.”
If that’s fake news, what’s the truth?
“I have great respect for Sergey Kovalev. He’s a great champion. I know it will be a difficult fight but I will be the next WBO light heavyweight champion of the world,” promised the challenger.
Kovalev-Alvarez is a quality matchup; a huge step up from Kovalev’s most recent crushings of two vastly overmatched Russian opponents. Those knockouts were little more than confidence boosters after KK’s two controversial losses to retired American nutcracker Andre Ward.
Kovalev is sick of talking about him.
And about Stevenson for that matter.
“Fighting Stevenson is not a question for me—it’s a question for him. We don’t know why ‘Chickenson’ is avoiding Alvarez but I will test him August 4 and find out who he is. He’s the #1 contender. Beating him means I am the best light heavyweight champion in the world again.”
“We’ll show boxing fans a great battle because my plan is to defend my WBO title and his plan is to be a new world champion.” Alvarez, a very patient challenger, waited three years for a fight with Adonis Stevenson to materialize. It never did. Kovalev and Alvarez both clearly understand the frustration of being avoided by the evasive WBC light heavyweight champion.
So they’re fighting each other.
Super Men, get it?
Alvarez (23-0 with 11 knockouts) was the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s belt but will now gladly challenge Krusher K for his WBO strap after scoring qualifying victories against former champions Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal in 2017 to truly earn his first world title shot.
Promoted by Yvon Michel, the Columbia born Alvarez has fought almost exclusively in Canada since turning professional in 2009. In 2014, he won the WBC silver light heavyweight title in Monte Carlo and actually retained it four times before an expected title fight with Stevenson ended up in Ducksville; resulting in Stevenson vs. feisty super middleweight overachiever Badou “The Ripper” Jack next weekend on SHO and Kovalev vs. Alvarez on the boardwalk this summer.
They’ll be having some fun.
Just don’t go expecting a knockout.
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