by Keith Idec
Dmitry Bivol believed Sergey Kovalev would defeat Eleider Alvarez.
Had that happened, Bivol might’ve been preparing now for a showdown with Kovalev. Bivol-Kovalev was a fight HBO’s Peter Nelson wanted to make prior to the end of this year, before the decision was made for the premium cable channel to move away from televising boxing.
Alvarez annihilated that plan by knocking out Kovalev in the seventh round of their August 4 fight for the WBO light heavyweight title Kovalev owned.
Down on all three scorecards, Alvarez cracked Kovalev with a right hand to the side of his head that knocked Kovalev to the canvas in the seventh round. The favored Kovalev got up, but Alvarez dropped him twice more.
Referee David Fields then halted their scheduled 12-round, 175-pound title bout at 2:45 of the seventh round. Colombia’s Alvarez trailed 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56 entering that surprising seventh round at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Etess Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I was surprised, because I thought it was 90 percent that Kovalev was gonna win,” Bivol told BoxingScene.com prior to an open workout Tuesday in Santa Monica, California. “But, you know, [Alvarez] did a good job and now, in the rematch, I think he has even more of a chance of winning because now he has the world title. Now I think it’s 55-45 that Alvarez wins.”
Colombia’s Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) and Russia’s Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) will meet again February 2. ESPN will televise their rematch, probably from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Instead of possibly boxing Kovalev in a light heavyweight title unification fight, Kyrgyzstan’s Bivol (14-0, 11 KOs) is busy training for a WBA 175-pound title defense versus Quebec’s Jean Pascal (33-5-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC). HBO will air their fight November 24 from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Etess Arena in Atlantic City.
Initially disappointed by Kovalev’s knockout loss to Alvarez, Bivol has refocused on potential title unification fights against winners of the upcoming Adonis Stevenson-Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Artur Beterbiev-Joe Smith Jr. and Alvarez-Kovalev light heavyweight championship bouts.
“I’m very philosophical in this sense,” Bivol said. “It’s not a big deal. That’s what happened. This must’ve been fate. My career continues. That’s what’s important. The champions are still around. The titles are there. That’s what’s important.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.