BoxingFight Previews

Kovalev vs. Alvarez II, HBO loses another fighter

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez dazzled in an entertaining bout that saw Alvarez knockout Kovalev in entertaining HBO main event. Surprisingly, the rematch will not happen on HBO, but rather ESPN.  

“We are very happy to be joining forces with Top Rank and ESPN for what we expect will be another exciting and historic fight,” said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events.

This marks a precedent that is rather alarming for HBO Boxing as they have televised ten bouts prior to this upcoming weekend’s pay-per-view clash between Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a rematch of last year’s major fight. This may seem like a hefty number, but when examining the numbers a majority of the fighters, who fought on HBO this year have since gone elsewhere and even their cash cow, Canelo Alvarez is hinting at leaving the network.

Of all the fighters, only Gennady Golovkin, the Superfly series and Jaime Munguia seem to have commitments to the network. In short, it seems like HBO is not investing in boxing anymore.

Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) established himself as one of this generation’s preeminent light heavyweight champions with nine title defenses across two title reigns. He first won the WBO title in August 2013, traveling to Wales and knocking out hometown champion Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round. He became the unified champion in November 2014 with a dominating 12-round decision against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and further enhanced his résumé with a pair of knockout wins against former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Kovalev lost the title via controversial decision loss to Andre Ward in November 2016. After dropping the rematch via eighth-round TKO, Kovalev recaptured the WBO title with a second-round TKO against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year. He defended the title once before the first Alvarez bout.

Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), a former Colombian amateur standout who resides in Montreal, is a nine-year pro with a host of A-list names on his résumé, including: Kovalev, Pascal, and former super middleweight world champion Lucian Bute. The Kovalev triumph is the signature victory on his record. Come 2019, Alvarez hopes it’s repeat rather than revenge.

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