Revenge or End on ESPN? Killer Kovalev vs. Storm Alvarez WBO Rematch Preview

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Frisco, TX (February 1st, 2019)– Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions will present a nine-bout card of professional boxing on ESPN featuring four regional and two world title bouts, on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the Ford Center at the Star, Frisco, Texas, with the Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch main event.

Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev will attempt to regain his World Boxing Organization World Light Heavyweight title against the man who dethroned him, Eleider ‘Storm’Alvarez.

Kovalev, 32-3-1 with 28 knockouts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by way of the Russian Federation, returns six months after Alvarez, 24-0,12 knockouts, Montreal, Canada by way of Columbia, dropped him three times and stopped him in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and took his title.

The rematch will go 12 rounds, and if Kovalev fights a smarter fight, the bout will go 12 rounds, with a draw or majority decision probably resulting, which could go either way. Alvarez has superior power, and Kovalev must respect it and outwork Alvarez, or else Kovalev will get knocked out cold, and his career will be over.

Other Predictions

Richard Commey Win 12 Asa Chaniev, Lightweights

Vacant IBF World Lightweight title

Oscar Valdez Win 12 Carmine Tommasone, Featherweights

WBO World Featherweight title. Valdez, 24-0, Nogales, Mexico. Tommasone, 19-0, Italy.

Teofimo Lopez Win 12 Win 10 Diego Magdaleno, Lightweights

USBA, NABA and NABF Lightweight titles. Rare to see all three regional belts at stake.

Ismail Lliev Win 10 Patrick Day, Super Welterweights

Vacant IBF Inter-Continental Super Welterweight title

Bakhram Murtazaliev KO 5 Elvin Ayala, Super Welterweights

Vacant WBC (USNBC) Super Welterweight title

38-year-old Ayala, a loser of eight of last 10 bouts, has not a prayer against the 14-0 Russian foe.

Eleider Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev II 
Scouting Report
New Champion vs. Veteran Challenger
Frisco, Texas:        When current WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion, Eleider Alvarez, steps in the ring to face Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in their much-anticipated rematch on February 2 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas live on ESPN+ (, it will Kovalev’s fifteenth consecutive world championship fight. As the challenger, Kovalev will seek to utilize his extensive championship experience to avenge his title loss in his ESPN+ debut and take back his title. Alvarez looks to prove his upset over Kovalev in their last fight was just the beginning of a championship run. Below is the scouting report for this exciting event:
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev
Eleider “Storm” Alvarez
32-3-1 (28 KOs)
24-0-0 (12 KOs)
Coming into his 15thconsecutive championship bout, The Krusher has more elite level experience than any of the current light heavyweight titleholders. He also possesses significant knockout power in both hands.
The Storm has quick hands, possesses a sharp and accurate jab and is a great counter-puncher. He is patient in the ring. He waits for his opponents to make a mistake, which showed in the first Kovalev bout.
Sergey needs to preserve his energy for the later rounds, if he cannot score a knockout early in the fight. He will need to be prepared to go into deep waters with the champion.
Alvarez is an accurate puncher, but he needs to turn up the volume on his punch output. Although he earned the stoppage win in the first bout, he was down on all three scorecards going into the seventh round.
The championship experience of the former champion is his main strength. He has fought nothing but the best opposition available throughout his career and has comeback after adversity.
The champion gained vast experience in capturing the title from The Krusher. He overcame some big shots and was down on the scorecards before he turned the tables on Kovalev.
The Russian’s power is still the most dangerous component heading into this fight.
Although he is not known for being a puncher, he did land the perfect knockdown punch in their first encounter.
The challenger has good speed and even quicker combinations.
The champion has quick hands and is an even quicker counter-puncher.
He has been a full 12-rounds just three times in his lengthy career against top-notch competition including Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward.
Eleider has been a full 12-rounds on three occasions as well, including two former Kovalev foes, Isaac Chilemba and Jean Pascal.
One of Kovalev’s secret weapons has always been his jab. When he fully commits to it, the rest of his offensive weapons are even more effective.
Patience has been one of the champion’s most prominent strengths. He picks his shots wisely and does not waste any punches.
Kovalev has always been an offensive-minded fighter. His best defense is his jab and he will have to keep it busy to avoid a repeat of what happened in the first fight.
Contrary to his opponent, Alvarez focuses much more on defense. He moves his head well and shows great composure while waiting for his opponents to make a mistake.
Kovalev has always been known to have a strong chin. He’s only been stopped twice as a professional.
Alvarez has a proven chin; he has withstood shots from some of the division’s heaviest hitters.
Kovalev has always had a fan-friendly style. He likes to come forward and press the action from start to finish. He is an aggressive, in-your-face fighter that utilizes an aggressive jab and legitimate power shots during the fight.
Eleider is a counter-puncher with quick hands and a solid jab. He is patient in waiting for his opponents to make a mistake and capitalizes once they do. He has also shown that he is not afraid to stand toe-to-toe with anyone.
Crowd Support
Although he has never competed in the state of Texas, he has been one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world for several years. He is expected to have significant crowd support.
This will be just his third appearance on U.S. soil and his debut in the state of Texas. He is not expected to have a vast amount of crowd support.
It has never been in Kovalev’s nature to take tune-up bouts, whether it be following a win or coming off a loss. He exercised his right to an immediate rematch and got right back into the gym to correct what went wrong in the first fight.
Alvarez waited a long time for his shot at the title and seized the opportunity against Kovalev. He fully understands that if he wants to fully dethrone Kovalev for good, then he needs to defeat the Russian one more time for his name to be discussed as one of the elites in the light heavyweight division.
The Match-Up
1.     Will Kovalev be able to keep his stamina for the later rounds?
2.     Will Alvarez go in there looking for one shot and get caught by Sergey?
3.     Will Kovalev be able to stick to the game plan with his new corner?
4.     Will Alvarez be able to take Sergey’s power the second time around?
Click Here for WORKOUT VIDEO, Click Here for PHOTOS
Credit Main Events / Ed Keenan
Special ESPN/ESPN+ quadruple-header Feb. 2 at Ford Center at the Star

FRISCO, Texas (Jan 31, 2019) — Their first fight ended with a dramatic knockout that shook up the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The rematch between Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) will bring two of the light heavyweight division’s biggest names to The Star.

Alvarez will defend his WBO light heavyweight world title against former unified light heavyweight world champion Kovalev on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.

Krusher and his trainer Buddy McGrit had this to say today, Wednesday, January 30 in Frisco:


First, I am very excited to get the opportunity to get back my belt. Thanks to God for this opportunity and thanks to my promoter and my manager to make this fight happen. Right now I must prove that I am the best in this division by this victory on Saturday night

I didn’t have enough gas, enough power. You saw my condition. I was lazy it was like something was wrong with my body.

Proving again that I always push myself more than needed and that was my biggest mistake in my boxing career. Always push further than needed. Right now Buddy has taught me a lot – saving energy for the fight and I listen to him 100% on his recommendations and I follow his instructions. I like this training camp but we’ll see Saturday what the boxing side will show.

Right now at this time before the fight I am used to dieting. This time I wanted to be better for everything – in life and in the boxing gym and in life and my team change. I am happy working with Teddy Cruz my strength coach and Buddy McGirt my boxing coach. They are really a great team and they are great persons. We have a great understanding with each other and I like the team very much.

When I became pro I got three belts just by using my amateur experience because my fights went often my first two years as a pro I fought 5 or 6 times a year. Then later I fought two or three times a year and one year I fought only once. That’s crazy. Between the fight it was long rest and I didn’t work out. I was busy with my life. I was famous in my small group, in my circle. I was busy with my family and with my friends. Every fight I started my training from zero. No one was there to work on or remind me of my style. I fought every fight just on my memory from the amateurs. I had coaches but they didn’t help me with my boxing or my conditioning or anything. Everything I did myself. Everybody has seen the result. I am happy that I started working with Buddy and he has reminded me of my amateur style and using a lot of boxing – not the goal to knock somebody out, but boxing. It’s a good idea to not have to win by knockout, but by boxing. The will be, at one time, a punch that will catch him. If you can punch, you will.

This time we have been working on defense too and with the shape I am in on Saturday it will be very interesting. I am excited in my last day of camp and I am excited for the fight to see what I can show. Right now I am really motivated because I know that I can beat this guy.

The last fight he got lucky. He got lucky of course. I lost concentration for just a couple of seconds – a lack of attention just for one second. Then I couldn’t get focused after the knockdown.

Maybe I wasn’t ready enough. I don’t want to use it as excuses but on Saturday I will prove that I am better than Alvarez. And that is my goal to get my belts back. That’s my goal right now and it is a big motivation.

(So, you are going to be a boxer on Saturday night?)

You never know what will happen tomorrow. I don’t even know what will happen when I go around this corner of the wall when I get up. I do have motivation and I should use it to get my belt back.

I like belts. Right now I have a co-promotion with Top Rank and I am on ESPN and I can get to the highest level in boxing again. I am in Dallas, and Texas is a state that has a lot of boxing fans – a lot of Mexican fans and a lot of American fans. The site is very bog and it looks great. And I am a Cowboys fan.

My prediction is that I will get back my belt. I don’t know how, ut I will get it back at any price or any cost.


No, I did not watch the first fight. The night that they fought I had a fight in New York. You want to hear something? Whenever I watched tapes of an opponent, as a fighter, I lost. When I watched tapes as a trainer, my fighter lost.

I watched tape of Meldrick Taylor, and I lost the fight.

I don’t need to watch tapes. I’m old school. I prepare for anything and everything. If you watch a tape of a guy, and you see something, then you expect it to happen and you wait all night for it, and it doesn’t.

If you get in a street fight you don’t have any tape on the guy. You have to adjust. So that’s what I go by.

I have watched quite a few Kovalev fights. I have seen enough of him. Things that he told me how he prepared for the fight and what happened during the fight – that was enough for me to understand what we have to do.

Sergey told me what went wrong in the fight and I just went from there. I had a guy fight Alvarez, Isaac Chilemba – we got jerked in the decision but it is what it is.

A lot of people told me that he was difficult to work with, but, he wasn’t. Everyone was telling me this and telling me that and I was like “OK,” and when I got with him everything was gravy.

I know that he had a strength and conditioning guy, to not only help with strength and conditioning but to help him with his diet – to eat the right foods. He told me how he ate for the last fight and I told him he was crazy. Lot of these fighters they wait till the last week to lose ten pounds – that’s not healthy.

He told me what he did wrong then we got in the gym and I said ‘OK Buddy, you can’t really make any big adjustments. He’s been doing this too long.’ So I just kept it simple. You can’t beat the basics. So you just keep it basic and simple, not complicated, and let the rest take care of itself.

He’s in shape. He’s eating the right foods. His weight is good. So now it’s all up to him.

There are days that we are in the gym and I say “That’s it.” He says ‘No, I want to do this.” I say no, that’s it. You can do that tomorrow.’ Then I have to sit there and wait for him to leave the gym so he won’t do anything. I know if I left the gym he would do extra. So I have to sit there with him and walk outside with him then he gets in his car and leave then I get in my car and leave.

It was a fun camp. Everything went good, thank God. Now it’s all up to him.

Teddy Cruz did strength and conditioning. Teddy worked on his diet and monitored his weight.

(What do you think will happen in the fight?)

I am excited about the fight just like everybody else.I know he will be champion after this fight And we take it from there.

Oscar Valdez vs. Carmine Tommasone will headline the ESPN/ESPN Deportes world championship doubleheader (10 p.m. ET) that also features the IBF lightweight world title fight between Richard Commey and Isa Chaniev.

The action will then turn to the OTT streaming service ESPN+ at 12 a.m., as Teofimo Lopez versus Diego Magdaleno will serve as the co-feature to boxing’s most anticipated rematch — the WBO light heavyweight world title bout between champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez and former division kingpin Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

Promoted by Top Rank, Main Events and Krusher Promotions, in association with Groupe Yvon Michel, tickets priced at $225, $165, $85, $55, and $25 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased at

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. — ESPN+ — Undercard Fights
10 p.m. – 12 a.m. — ESPN / ESPN Deportes — Oscar Valdez vs. Carmine Tommasone & Richard Commey vs. Isa Chaniev
12 a.m. — ESPN+ — Eleider Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev 2 & Teofimo Lopez vs. Diego Magdaleno





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Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at