Sergey Kovalev avenged his August 2018 loss to Eleider Alvarez and won their rematch, becoming a three-time WBO light heavyweight champion in the process.
Kovalev outpointed Alvarez by unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 120-108) to win back the WBO title. The fight headlined a Top Rank Boxing card on ESPN+ from The Star in Frisco, Texas.
The two boxers had met in the main event of an HBO-televised card from Atlantic City last August with Alvarez scoring the victory and winning the title by stopping Kovalev in the seventh round. In the rematch, Kovalev did everything in his power to avoid a similar result.
The fight opened up with less fireworks than their first encounter, but Alvarez managed to sneak a left hand to the body at the end of the first round as the two boxers were still finding their range. Kovalev would then go on to outwork Alvarez shortly afterwards, throwing combination after combination to not give Alvarez a chance to retaliate. Whenever Alvarez would put both of his hands up to defend against Kovalev's straight left hands, Kovalev would throw a right hook around Alvarez's guard and into the side of his head, a tactic that worked at various points during the fight.
Alvarez did manage to stun Kovalev a couple of times in the middle rounds, but beyond that, there was little that Alvarez did for the rest of the fight. Kovalev continued to bully Alvarez around the ring, having no problem connecting on key jabs and counter hooks to win a majority of the rounds.
Even in the final round, Kovalev still worked more and hit harder than Alvarez despite being comfortably up on the scorecards, proving to the boxing world that their encounter in Atlantic City was merely a result of Kovalev overtraining for that fight and not having enough gas in the tank to execute his gameplan back then.
According to CompuBox, Kovalev threw a total of 816 punches throughout the 12 rounds against Alvarez, landing 213 of them (26 percent). Alvarez was much less active, throwing for just 369 total punches and landing 111 of them (30 percent). Kovalev also outlanded Alvarez in jabs (60 to 33) and in power punches (153 to 78).
Even though both men own a win over each other, there was no mention of a rubber match between the two from either boxer in their respective post-fight interview. As for Kovalev, he was asked about a potential title unification against any of the other light heavyweight champions. Kovalev named WBA titleholder Dmitry Bivol and IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev as two boxers the new WBO champion would like to fight in the future.