By Keith Idec
FRISCO, Texas – Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev stared at one another until a Top Rank employee stepped between them Friday afternoon.
Handicappers have determined there won’t be much separating the light heavyweights Saturday night, either. Alvarez is listed as a the favorite over Kovalev in an immediate rematch ESPN+ will stream live from the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility.
Colombia’s Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) and Russia’s Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) both made weight Friday afternoon for their WBO light heavyweight championship rematch.
Alvarez, 34, stepped on the Texas Combative Sports Program’s scale at 174½ pounds. Kovalev, 35, officially weighed 174 pounds on a stage inside Ford Center at The Star, the same venue where they’ll fight again.
Kovalev will attempt to win back the 175-pound championship Alvarez won from him August 4 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Alvarez was behind on all three scorecards – 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56 – when he landed a right hand to the side of Kovalev’s head that knocked down the former champion in the seventh round.
Kovalev got to his feet, but Alvarez dropped him twice more before referee David Fields stopped their scheduled 12-round fight at 2:45 of the seventh round.
Their immediate rematch will be streamed live by ESPN+ as the main event of a doubleheader set to start at midnight ET/9 p.m. PT from Ford Center at The Star. Lightweights Teofimo Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) and Diego Magdaleno (31-2, 13 KOs) will square off in the 10-round, 135-pound opener of that stream.
Las Vegas’ Lopez weighed in at 134½ pounds Friday, as did Magdaleno, also a Las Vegas resident.
Lopez and Magdaleno will fight for the NABA, NABF and USBA lightweight titles.
The four fighters who’ll participate in two bouts ESPN will air before the card shifts to ESPN+ also made weight Friday.
Ghana’s Richard Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) stepped on the scale at 134¼ pounds for his 12-round, 135-pound championship match versus Russia’s Isa Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs). Chaniev weighed in at 134½ pounds.
Commey, 31, and Chaniev, 26, will square off for the unclaimed IBF lightweight title Mikey Garcia vacated late last year.
Earlier Friday afternoon, WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) and Carmine Tommasone (19-0, 5 KOs) met their contractual obligations for their 12-round, 126-pound title bout.
Mexico’s Valdez, 28, officially weighed 125½ pounds. Tommasone, 34, weighed in at 125¼ pounds.
The Commey-Chaniev and Valdez-Tommasone matches will air live on ESPN, starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The ESPN+ stream is scheduled to begin at midnight ET/9 p.m. PT, yet it could begin earlier if the Commey-Chaniev and/or Valdez-Tommasone fights don’t go the distance.
Whenever the ESPN+ stream starts, the Lopez-Magdaleno match won’t begin until after midnight ET/9 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.