By Keith Idec
FRISCO, Texas – Eleider Alvarez isn’t exactly fluent in English.
The Colombian-born, Quebec-based boxer still didn’t like what he heard from Sergey Kovalev on Thursday at a press conference to promote their immediate rematch Saturday night at Ford Center at The Star. The WBO light heavyweight champion accused Kovalev of making “a lot of excuses” for his seventh-round knockout loss to Alvarez on August 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Kovalev contends he over-trained for their fight nearly six months ago at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The former champion also feels a slight lapse in concentration is what enabled Alvarez to land the right hand to the side of his head that completely changed a fight the 35-year-old Kovalev was winning on all three scorecards (59-55, 59-55, 58-56).
“I believe that’s excuses he’s making,” Alvarez said. “When you lose, you have a lot of excuses. When you win, you have no excuses. I had a great game plan with my team and he says that was an accident, well, he [better] be ready for another accident on Saturday.”
Russia’s Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) hired Buddy McGirt to train him following his knockout loss to Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs). Yvon Michel, Alvarez’s promoter, views Kovalev parting ways with trainer Abror Tursunpulatov and adding McGirt to his team as a sign that he didn’t take the 34-year-old Alvarez as seriously as he should have done the first time they fought.
“The first fight was an exceptional fight,” Michel said. “It was great. There was a lot of strategy. We could see two fighters really dedicated. And I read in the paper Sergey said that Eleider has been lucky to win that fight. I don’t buy that at all. What I’m buying, what I believe is everybody got surprised. Nobody really knew who was Eleider Alvarez. Now everybody knows that he has skill, he’s hungry, he’s dedicated, he has athleticism and he can fight. Now everybody knows. And this is why I believe [Kovalev] prepared better this time.”
The Alvarez-Kovalev rematch will headline an ESPN+ stream scheduled to start at midnight ET/9 p.m. PT on Saturday. In the opener of that show, highly regarded lightweight contender Teofimo Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) is scheduled to face veteran Diego Magdaleno (31-2, 13 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.