Sergey Kovalev won back the WBO light heavy-weight belt from Eleider Alverez on Saturday night in what has been described by some as a boxing lesson.
The 35-year-old Russian fighter hardly put a foot wrong throughout the much-anticipated rematch, and in doing so won a unanimous decision to
become a 3-time world champion.
Prior to the contest many within the boxing world felt that Kovalev (33(28)-3-1) was in the twilight of his boxing career.
The whispers were that he is no longer the feared warrior that once ruled the division with extremely heavy-hands and superior boxing skills.
So-called “experts” in the game were saying the years had finally caught up with “Krusher”.
He had looked a shell of his previous self since his first loss to Andre Ward,
which many felt he won on the night, and before last Saturday he was (2-3) in his last five bouts.
But Kovalev, with new trainer and former two-weight world champion Buddy McGirt in his corner appeared to have a new lease of life and extra spring in his step.
He was much sharper than his fights of late and boxed smart and efficiently for the full twelve rounds.
He was constantly moving in and out of range throwing simple but effective
jabs and straight combinations to both the head and body off Alverez.
It was Sergey’s best overall boxing performance and win since he totally out boxed the legendary and future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins in 2014.
Saturday night was an all-round excellent display and makes you re-evaluate really what Kovalev may have left in the tank.
It’s hard to believe that Sergey Kovalev will ever be the force he once was, as we have seen so many times in the past time waits for no fighter.
But he has shown some strong evidence that makes you think he can compete with the more elite fighters in the division once again, at least.
It will be interesting to see what route Kathy Duva — Kovalev’s promoter takes him on next.
The light heavy-weight division has not had such a wide range of talent in years.
It is without a doubt one of the most stacked weight divisions in boxing right now and leaves many options for Sergey and his team.
The other three belt holders in the division are all excellent fighters.
Dmitry Bivol (15-0), Artur Beterbiev (13-0) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (16-0) are all forging out great careers for themselves in the sport and currently hold the WBA, IBF and WBC belts respectively.
Undoubtedly all three would be a tough contest for Kovalev, but with the performance put on display Saturday night he may still have what it takes for one or two more big nights inside of the squared circle.
One advantage Kovalev holds over all three other champions is experience, the Alverez rematch was his 15th consecutive world title fight and that is factor that cannot be taught.
But most would still have the 6ft 1’ KO artist as the underdog.
Another option for Kovalev is with Anthony Yarde (17-0), the English man is ranked #1 with WBO, but has not fought anyone close to the calibre of the Russian and does not have an extensive amateur career.
So, taking this into consideration, his advisers may be reluctant to face the belt holder just yet.
Mexican super-middle weight champion Gilberto Ramirez (39-0) is moving up in weight and Bob Arum has said they want a shot at Kovalev also.
But one would imagine that they would prefer that fight further down the line so Ramirez could have one or two fights at 175-pounds to establish himself at his new weigh-class.
In the post-fight interview Kovalev himself called for a unification showdown with any off the champions.
He claims he wants to make history within the sport, only time will tell if he will get the opportunity to do so.