Even in winning a fight at super middleweight to end his 2018 campaign, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez didn’t figure to be anywhere but in the heart of relevant middleweight action for his 2019 campaign.
Then came the chance to make history.
The reigning World middleweight champion from Guadalajara, Mexico will jump two divisions for his upcoming showdown versus three-time and reigning light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29KOs). The bout will take place Nov. 2, live on DAZN from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and with Alvarez attempting to become a true three-division titlist, along with a secondary title win at 168 pounds last December.
Still it wasn’t even his 3rd round knockout of England’s Rocky Fielding in his aforementioned true super middleweight debut which created the path to lead to a fight with Kovalev. Instead, it was upon his return to middleweight when the subject was broached. “Really, we didn’t decide for sure until after my win over Daniel Jacobs,” Alvarez revealed during a recent media conference call, referring to his 12-round victory in their three belt middleweight title unification clash this past May. “The media asked me about it, if we would consider fighting Kovalev. When they asked, we considered it but first we had to get past Daniel Jacobs.
“After that, we began to think about it more and decided to pursue it.”
A win on Nov. 2 will put Alvarez in exclusive company of former junior middleweight titlists who’ve gone on to claim a belt at light heavyweight. ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Mike McCallum are the only other three in history to have accomplished the feat, all three of whom are enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Fighters move up in weight to make history,” points out Oscar de la Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter who is also an established authority on the subject, having won major titles in six weight divisions from 130 through 160 pounds during his own Hall of Fame career. “Moving up two weight classes is no easy task—but when has Canelo ever taken the easy way?”
Alvarez will become the first-ever boxer from Mexico to claim title wins at 154, 160 and 175 pounds should he conquer Russia’s Kovalev, who makes the second defense of his third tour as a light heavyweight titlist. Doing so would make for a fantastic alternative to his initial goal at the start of the year, which was to collect all of the middleweight titles.
“I always envision fighting the best, but never realized the magnitude of the effect I would have in taking these fights,” states Alvarez. “I will continue to fight to make boxing history.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox