For years, the identify that rang within the ears of sunshine heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez was that of world champion Adonis Stevenson.
Again when Kovalev held three belts in 2016 — earlier than his first of back-to-back losses to Andre Ward — the most important battle within the division was a unification bout with Stevenson. However with Stevenson seemingly unwilling to make the battle and Kovalev unable to go away HBO for the battle, it went unmade.
Alvarez, who like Stevenson relies in Montreal, shares promoter Yvon Michel and adviser Al Haymon with Stevenson and was his obligatory challenger for greater than two years. The battle ought to have been simple to make however for causes that also have by no means been defined it wasn’t.
Now neither are involved about Stevenson as they discovered their manner to one another with Kovalev scheduled to defend his world title towards Alvarez on Aug. four (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) on the Mark G. Etess Area on the new Arduous Rock Resort & On line casino Atlantic Metropolis, which opens on June 28 because it takes over what was the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic Metropolis, N.J. Kovalev-Alvarez would be the first main battle within the one-time boxing hotbed of Atlantic Metropolis since Kovalev outpointed Bernard Hopkins to unify three belts at Boardwalk Corridor in November 2014.
“Both have been avoided a lot by the same guy and so, tired of waiting for that guy to step up and face them, despite multiple attempts to put those fights together as Yvon can well attest, they have decided to simply fight each other,” Most important Occasions CEO Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter, mentioned on the kickoff information convention in New York on Saturday.
“I don’t want to hear about Adonis Stevenson anymore. I am focused on Sergey Kovalev. I am really motivated. It is a huge fight against a really high-class opponent. Kovalev is right now the best fighter of the division. I wanted to fight in a world championship bout to show my talent and now I finally have the opportunity.”
Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) and Alvarez (23-Zero, 11 KOs) appeared fairly glad to be preventing one another though each have wished a battle with Stevenson.
“Alvarez has earned his title shot but ‘Chickenson’ dodged him, just like he dodged me,” mentioned Kovalev, who will make the second protection of the vacant title he gained after Ward gave it up when he retired final 12 months. “I want to fight the best in my division. Alvarez took the fight with me without hesitation. I respect that and I am excited to face him in my return to Atlantic City.”
Stated Alvarez: “I’m extraordinarily glad. I mentioned sure as quickly as I had the supply. I waited for a very long time to get a shot at a world title. I do not need to hear about Adonis Stevenson anymore. I’m centered on Sergey Kovalev. I’m actually motivated. It’s a enormous battle towards a extremely high-class opponent. Kovalev is correct now the most effective fighter of the division. I wished to battle in a world championship bout to point out my expertise and now I lastly have the chance.
“I do know it’s a actually exhausting battle, however I’ll work exhausting to develop into world champion. That is my dream. I’m a boxer who loves problem and who performs at my finest when I’m challenged. I now have what I would like.”
The battle happened in an uncommon method. Russia’s Kovalev, 35, who fights out of Los Angeles, and contender Marcus Browne had agreed to phrases however after the New York Each day Information reported final month that Browne was not too long ago been arrested twice on misdemeanor home violence prices, Duva declined to finalize the battle.
In the meantime, fed up with ready for his title shot, Alvarez (23-Zero, 11 KOs), 34, a Colombia native, insisted on being paid a wholesome step-aside charge to permit Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) to take a protection with former two-division titlist Badou Jack (21-1-Three, 13 KOs) with the assure that he get the winner subsequent. That demand was stopping Michel from finalizing Stevenson-Jack.
“Alvarez has earned his title shot however ‘Chickenson’ dodged him, identical to he dodged me. I need to battle the most effective in my division. Alvarez took the battle with me with out hesitation. I respect that and I’m excited to face him in my return to Atlantic Metropolis.”
When Browne was dropped from the battle with Kovalev, Duva, whose firm is celebrating its 40th 12 months in enterprise this month, known as Michel to inquire about Alvarez’s availability to battle Kovalev.
The battle was signed the following day with each promoters fixing their issues and creating two enticing fights: Kovalev-Alvarez and Stevenson-Jack, which can happen on Saturday (Showtime, 10:05 p.m. ET/PT) on the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Regardless of all odd manner that the battle got here collectively, Kovalev-Alvarez looms as one of many extra intriguing fights in a sizzling weight class.
“Eleider Alvarez is a great competitor. That is probably why Stevenson refused to fight him,” mentioned Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s supervisor and the reigning and two-time Boxing Writers Affiliation of America supervisor of the 12 months. “Sergey will face anyone, any time, any place. If Adonis is too scared to take the fight, Sergey is happy to step up and fight Alvarez. He earned this opportunity.”
Stated Stephane Lepine, Alvarez’s supervisor: “The offer from Kathy Duva arrived and we were really happy. Fighting against Sergey Kovalev, an established and recognized name of the boxing world, on HBO, we couldn’t ask for any better opportunity. For me, it was a no brainer. We had to accept that amazing offer. We were also too tired to wait for Adonis Stevenson.”