Eleider Alvarez scored an upset on Saturday by dropping Sergey Kovalev three times in the seventh round en route to a technical knockout to claim Kovalev’s share of the light heavyweight championship in Atlantic City.
Alvarez won the WBO light heavyweight title and ended Kovalev’s reign atop the division.
The unbeaten Colombian, who once had surgery on his right hand, found the power in that hand to level Kovalev with a right and send him to the canvas. Alvarez pounced and pounded away at Kovalev when he beat the 10-count and knocked him down two more times and referee David Fields ended the fight.
“It was a two (punch) combo that I have been throwing my whole career and we worked on it in camp,” said Alvarez, who landed 73 of 251 punches (29%) compared to 91 of 339 for Kovalev (27%). “I have always practiced that in camp and we thought it would work in this camp.”
Kovalev had entered with the WBO’s version of the 175lb title coming off consecutive knockout wins following back-to-back losses to Andre Ward, which marked the lone two setbacks of his professional career.
Now Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), whose résumé includes wins over Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute that helped earn him Saturday’s shot at the title, could move into a unification bout against Dmitry Bivol, who successfully defended his WBA light heavyweight belt on the undercard at the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.