Alvarez, however, was rocked in the fourth with a series of punches, and while he tried holding his own, Kovalev seemed to be in complete control, albeit somewhat worn out. "I never let the past decide me". Enter Sergey Kovalev, whom many consider the most unsafe light heavyweight since Roy Jones Jr.
Kovalev was the more aggressive of the two boxers and was winning the majority of the rounds heading into the final round at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Eleider Alvarez, center, of Colombia, celebrates after he knocked out Sergey Kovalev, of Russian Federation, in the seventh round of their boxing bout at 175 pounds, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Atlantic City, N.J.
Kovalev got up quickly, but it only got worse from there as Alvarez (24-0, 12 KO's) rocked him with an uppercut and a hard jab that almost sent Kovalev's mouthpiece flying.
The 2008 Colombian Olympian had to go through plenty of adversity to finally become a boxing champion. But Alvarez said he was ready to go on the unification of the championship belts, calling themselves the most likely to rival other Russian Dmitry Bivol, who on the same day in the battle for the title of world champion under version WBA won on points Isaac Chilemba from South Africa.
Alvarez cracked Kovalev with the big right hand in the seventh round, which all but sealed the deal. Alvarez, behind on all three cards, dropped Kovalev three times in the round before referee Harvey Dock stopped it at the 2:45 mark. "I always practiced that punch in training". Either way, Dmitry Bivol lurks on the undercard as the rising contender looks to secure his shot at the victor at the expense of Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol improved to 14-0 with his fifth successful title defense.
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Alvarez is likely to have every intention to take this fight late, but in order to come out on top he must have a good work rate early - to avoid giving up a large advantage - and will need to bring Kovalev out of his comfort zone, make him use those legs, while countering away and targeting the mid-section when Kovalev is inevitably right in front of him. Kovalev was taken to a hospital.
Alvarez has served his apprenticeship, outside of Chilemba, beating the likes of Ryno Liebenberg (TKO 7), Lucian Bute (KO 5) and Jean Pascal (MD 12).
"I wanted to show that I could stay strong and do good things", Alvarez said. "His punches were not as hard as they were in the beginning of the fight".
Bivol started the fight well, exploding with numerous hooks and overhand rights that stunned Chilemba at times. "He's hungry for this fight and for a victory", Kovalev said of Alvarez. "I just want to fight the best fighters". But on Saturday, Kovalev found himself in the ring with a serious contender in Alvarez, who got the fight in April when original opponent Marcus Browne was dropped by Duva because of his arrest on a domestic violence charge. Kovalev stated it's probably time to hang up the gloves, "but this is boxing so anything can happen". Kovalev also headlined that November 8, 2014 card and beat Bernard Hopkins in a championship bout on the last major night of boxing in Atlantic City.
He is also 0-2 in world title fights, having lost a decision to Kovalev in 2016.
"I cleaned up my mind and body", Kovalev said.