Ahead of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez against Sergey Kovalev, we analyse five fights that paved the way for this weekend’s huge world title fight.
‘Canelo’ bids to become a four-weight world champion when he challenges Kovalev for the WBO light-heavyweight title in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.
Here are the fights that put the Mexican star and ‘Krusher’ Kovalev on a collision course…
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Saul Alvarez defeated Gennady Golovkin by majority decision, September 2018
Following their controversial draw a year earlier, Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin renewed hostilities and fans were once again treated to masterclass in aggression and accuracy.
With middleweight supremacy on the line, both men gave their all in pursuing the ultimate accolade at 160lbs and the action didn’t dither once. At the end of 12 tough sessions, it was the Mexican icon who was considered to have done the finer work as Golovkin was forced to endure the first defeat of his professional career, going down by a narrow majority verdict.
Saul Alvarez defeated Rocky Fielding by third round TKO, December 2018
After securing his position as the world’s best middleweight, Saul Alvarez decided to test the waters in a division north as he took on Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding for a version of the 12st title.
Despite conceding height, reach, and size, Canelo made the step with relative ease as he dropped the Liverpool man with a series of brutal body shots to take the victory with a routine third round stoppage.
Sergey Kovalev defeated Eleider Alvarez by unanimous decision, February 2019
Sergey Kovalev’s career had been in tatters after losing by stoppage to Eleider Alvarez in the summer of 2018. Taking advantage of a rematch clause, Kovalev simply had to win or his time as a top line fighter was over.
With Buddy McGirt in his corner for the first time, Kovalev demonstrated a patience and caution that had long been missing from his explosive make-up as he dominated the tough Colombian for 12 one-sided rounds, becoming world champion for the third time in the process.
Saul Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision, May 2019
Despite his position as the world’s best middleweight, Saul Alvarez had competition to contend with in the shape of Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs.
“The Miracle Man” had aimed for supremacy at 160lbs in 2016, only to be defeated by Gennady Golovkin by the smallest of margins. But the result hadn’t deterred him, and Jacobs claimed he was the best at 11st 7lbs no matter what the judges thought.
Against Canelo, Jacobs fought valiantly, but he was unable to cause a major impact in the fight as Alvarez took a points verdict after 12 tactical rounds.
Sergey Kovalev defeated Anthony Yarde by 11th round TKO, August 2019
Talk surrounding a Sergey Kovalev-Saul Alvarez fight intensified in the summer as the Mexican superstar declared his intentions to fight at 175lbs.