All it took for Eleider Alvarez to remind the light heavyweight division that he is still one of its most dangerous contenders was one devastating right hand.
As time was winding out in the seventh round of their Top Rank on ESPN card from Verona, New York, Alvarez landed a vicious right hand to Michael Seals' chin, dropping him to the canvas. Seals was in no position to get back up and so, Alvarez picked up his first win since losing his WBO light heavyweight title in 2019.
Alvarez had been out of action for nearly a year after being widely outboxed by Sergey Kovalev in their WBO title rematch in February 2019. Since then, a number of fighters have stepped up to become contenders while Alvarez looked to get back into the title mix.
With the WBO title currently vacant, Alvarez, who came into the fight ranked No. 7 by the sanctioning body, does stand an outside chance of potentially fighting for the vacant belt. Alvarez is likely to move up in the rankings after Jesse Hart, ranked No. 3 by the governing body, lost his fight against Joe Smith Jr. earlier this month. Alvarez is also ranked in the WBC's top 10 at light heavyweight.
In the opening bout of the ESPN-televised main card, Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo continued his climb up the rankings with a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Manuel Rey Rojas. Verdejo, who was primed for a lightweight title shot before a motorcycle accident in 2016 dashed those hopes, has now won three straight fights since dropping his first defeat to Antonio Lozada in 2018.
Below are the full results of the January 18 Top Rank card from Verona, New York:
- Eleider Alvarez defeated Michael Seals by KO, round 7, 3:00 to win the WBC Continental Americas and WBO Intercontinental light heavyweight titles
- Felix Verdejo defeated Manuel Rey Rojas by unanimous decision (98-92, 97-93, 99-91)
- Christopher Diaz defeated Adeilson Dos Santos by unanimous decision (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)
- Abraham Nova defeated Pedro Navarrete by TKO, round 4, 0:35
- Devin Vargas defeated Victor Bisbal by DQ
- Jonathan Guzman defeated Rodolfo Hernandez Montoya by KO, round 3, 1:22
- Jared Anderson defeated Andrew Satterfield by KO, round 1, 2:30