For years, Eleider Alvarez was overlooked and ignored by WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson despite Alvarez being his mandatory challenger. Alvarez channeled years of frustration to knock out Sergey Kovalev and win the WBO light heavyweight title.
Thanks to two knockdowns in the seventh round, Alvarez knocked down Kovalev to win his first world title. Below is an excerpt of Fightful’s live coverage of the fight:
Round 7: Both men trade shots throughout the round as the crowd are chanting for both men at times. Kovalev landed a three-punch combo, but Kovalev is down from a left hand. Kovalev is hurt as Alvarez is now raining down punches on Kovalev. Alvarez knocks down Kovalev again, this time with a right hook. Two more punches by Alvarez and Kovalev is out. The referee stopped the fight. We have a new champion!
Official result: Eleider Alvarez defeated Sergey Kovalev by KO, round 7, to win the WBO light heavyweight title
Alvarez not only won the WBO title, but also played spoiler to HBO and Main Event’s plans to have Kovalev and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol have a unification fight at the end of the year. Bivol retained his title in the co-main event fight of the card, which took place in Atlantic City.
Alvarez had been Stevenson's mandatory challenger for years, but Stevenson would get step-aside deals in order to make countless voluntary defenses. Alvarez was then placed in a WBC interim title fight against Oleksandr Gvozdyk, but Alvarez withdrew, stating he did not want an interim title but wanted Stevenson and his title. He may not have gotten Stevenson, but he did get his world title.
The loss is now Kovalev's third in his last five fights. Kovalev lost his unified titles to Andre Ward in 2016, then lost the rematch fight in 2017. He then captured the vacant WBO title late last year after Ward retired and then defended the title this past March at Madison Square Garden.
Regarding a potential unification fight against Bivol, Alvarez said he will be ready for anyone that comes his way. Whether or not that means the fight against Bivol is next remains to be seen, but Alvarez can now walk back to his locker room, not just a winner, but a world champion as well.