There’s a quote circulating around the internet and appearing on TV shows and movies that reads “Fate whispers to the warrior a storm is coming. The warrior whispers back, I am the storm.” While the source of the line is unknown, it could not more perfectly encapsulate what happened during Eleider “Storm” Alvarez’s shocking seventh-round knockout of heavy favorite Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.
Alvarez was boxing nicely, staying on the outside and not allowing Kovalev to use his famous body jab to dictate the pace of the fight. However, rather than get outboxed while trying to be tricky and slick, Kovalev decided to simply march forward, eating the occasional counter to land thudding body shots and thunderous straight right hands. Jim Lampley compared Kovalev’s strategy to Jaime Munguia’s bullying of Liam Smith, before Roy Jones presciently pointed out that Smith could not hurt Munguia with a counter, while Alvarez could hurt Kovalev. As a result of Kovalev’s sudden offensive onslaught, by the time the seventh round came around Alvarez trailed on the judge’s scorecards 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56.
But, Alvarez would not wilt. In the seventh he landed a perfect right hand on the chin that put Kovalev down, then knocked him down another two times before the referee stopped the fight with Kovalev still on his knees. After the fight, fans were quick to point out that at 35 Kovalev may have gotten old overnight, or that he was in some way permanently damaged after being so thoroughly beaten by Andre Ward in their rematch. Those excuses may or may not be true, but what is undeniable is that a heavy underdog came face-to-face with a destructive Russian tempest only one other man had ever bested, and with a few well-placed punches Alvarez told the world in far louder than a whisper, that he is in fact, the storm.
But Alvarez must beware, for there are far darker clouds ahead. See, the undercard of Alvarez’s matchup with Kovalev saw the man many see as the true best light heavyweight in the world, Dmitry Bivol, easily defeat the rugged veteran Isaac Chilemba by a wide, one-sided unanimous decision. Bivol told Sherdog leading up to the fight that although Chilemba is a tough guy to have an aesthetically pleasing fight with, his No. 1 goal was for the fight to be entertaining for the fans. Although he got the easy win, he failed in that aspect as the fight was largely dull. Bivol landed lots of good shots, left hooks especially, but Chilemba was always able to roll enough right hands or nullify Bivol’s other big shots to never find himself in serious trouble, but also never in the fight. Roy Jones Jr. was cornering Chilemba and was seen in the yelling to his fighter that he looked like a champion. This motivational strategy failed to illicit any kind of response, as the fight played out pretty much the same way from the first to the 12th rounds.
Before the fight, the talk was of a big all Russian battle between Bivol and Kovalev to unify the WBA and WBO titles. Bivol held his end of the bargain, and a matchup with Alvarez now seems almost certain to happen (Kovalev did have a rematch clause, but it’s uncertain if that’s something he would be immediately interested in). That fight would likely be viewed as a coronation for Bivol, but Alvarez has already proven that against him, there are no guarantees.
Browne Gets Dropped But Survives to Beat Castillo
Marcus Browne, the undefeated light heavyweight that was originally supposed to fight Kovalev until the fight was cancelled over Browne’s domestic violence accusations, got off of the canvas to defeat Lenin Castillo by unanimous decision this weekend. Browne was dropped in the fifth, but Castillo wasn’t able to follow up on the knockdown, and after being outboxed for four rounds before, continued to get outpointed for the next seven rounds. Because of the charges, it is unclear what room there is for Browne in the division. Perhaps with Kovalev’s loss, that fight could be rearranged.
Berto Takes Razor-Thin Decision
In a matchup between former highly-hyped prospects, ESPN’s 2006 prospect of the year Andre Berto turned back the clock to take a razor thin decision over Devon Alexander, despite being dropped and thoroughly outboxed in the early stages of the fight.
Alexander was beating Berto pretty handily early on in the fight, showing quicker hands and ultimately dropping Berto in the third. However, after trying so hard to seal the deal after the knockdown, Alexander severely faded over the later stages of the fight allowing Berto to take over, press forward and put round after round in the bank despite the early hole he found himself in.
For Alexander, it’s probably time to retire. Despite the closeness of the match, Berto expressed that he had no interest in a rematch, and Alexander would be relegated to undercard status, an embarrassing prospect for a former champion. For Berto (who is still a well-known name), huge opponents in the welterweight division await, such as possible fights with Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan or Danny Garcia. However, after the recent struggles he has found himself in, including early in this fight, he should be careful about what opponent he chooses. It’s not 2006 anymore.
Quillin Beats Depression. Then Love
After openly discussing his battles with depression, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin returned to the ring and defeated the Floyd Mayweather-promoted J’Leon Love via a rather dull decision. Fighting at 168, rather than middleweight where he formerly held the WBA title, Quillin looked very good in the win. Despite the personal struggles, Quillin has still only lost once in his career (to Daniel Jacobs). It will be interesting to see what he can accomplish at 168 now that he has his mind right.
I wanna fight the dude that fought Cody yesterday— Gervonta Davis (@Gervontaa) August 5, 2018
Tevin farmer Drops, Decisions, and Retires Dib
Tevin Farmer, the slick American super featherweight from Philadelphia, travelled to Billy Dib’s home nation of Australia, took a wide decision off of him, left with his IBF belt, and forced the 32-year-old to retire. Not a bad night’s work for the southpaw who was 4-3-1 after his first eight professional fights.
Farmer dropped Dib in the ninth, and though Dib was game throughout the result of the bout was never in question. After the fight, Farmer called out Mayweather protégé Gervonta Davis. Davis responded on twitter, saying “if me and Tevin fight he is going to sleep for sure.” However, Davis later let his mind wander on twitter and declared that he wants “to fight the dude that fought Cody yesterday.” Because the surest sign that a boxer understands the subtle complexities of a possible transition to MMA is not paying close enough attention to even know a UFC champion’s name.
Former Champ Collazo Beats Perrella
Luis Collazo won a far wider decision than the official 95-95, 98-92 and 96-94 scores would suggest over Bryant Perrella. Perrella boxed well at first, cutting Collazo in the early rounds. However, after getting staggered in the fourth round Perrella shut down a little, dropping into a defensive shell that allowed him to stay safe but cost him round after round. Collazo, the former WBA welterweight champion, has now won two straight since being stopped by Keith Thurman in 2015.
« Previous Boxing Highlight Video: Eleider Alvarez Scores Huge Upset, KOs Sergey Kovalev on HBO Next Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview »