LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2019: With a devastating knockout in Round 11, pound-for-pound boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) defeated Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) to become the new WBO Light Heavyweight Titlist.
With this victory, Canelo once again makes history by becoming a four-division world champion and only the second Mexican fighter ever to capture the 175 pound title.
Earlier in the evening, Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) brought the early fireworks and maintained his perfect record with a spectacular knockout of Romero Duno (21-2, 16 KOs) in Round 1.
Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) ultimately won the highly-anticipated clash against Marlen Esparza (7-1, 1 KO) by technical decision after an accidental headbutt in Round 5 led to a nasty gash on Esparza’s forehead that ultimately halted the fight at the end of Round 9.
Also, Blair Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs) remained undefeated after a stoppage over Carlos Ortiz (11-5, 11 KOs) at the end of Round 6, in a battle where both men hit the canvas.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
“I’m very thankful. This is just a step in my career, in my history, and all I ask of you, is to be patient because Canelo will make history. That’s a guarantee.”
“The plan overall was patience, that was basically it – to have patience. We knew it was going to be five, six rounds and it was going to take some time for me to get him. But honestly he’s a great fighter. I’m new at this weight, new in this division. Much credit to him, he’s a great fighter, but we stuck to our game plan. It was delayed a little bit but overall it was successful.”
“It was a very close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard. All he was doing was try to establish points, but we knew what was coming. Inevitably it would come, and everything came out the way we had planned.”
“[After this] the plan was to go down to 160, 165, but why not – maybe 175 again.”
“We have to see what happens. We have to do what’s best for us. We have to look for the best fights, the big fights, but obviously give the victories to Mexico.”
On GGG: “It’s really not a challenge to me. We’ve fought 24 rounds and I beat him. It’s really not a challenge for me, but if it represents business, why not?”
“I was tired after round 6, because I had my last fight very close to this one, but it’s okay, it’s a new experience for me. Canelo is really a great champion. A little bit right now, I didn’t recover from my last fight. But it’s okay. Thanks for the fight Canelo, I have big respect for him. He made history.”
“To open my body less, I had to use more jabs, more safe. I’ll be back. I’ll be back much stronger.”
“I know that I can be a unified champion, let’s make a unification fight. But nobody wants to fight me in my division. This guy is more fresh, he came into my division more fresh. He has more stamina, but it’s okay, it’s a good experience for me.”
“I feel good. It’s kind of what Ii expected. All respect to Duno, he came to fight, he came in shape, he caught me with an overhand right and I took it and from there Ii knew I could keep taking them and keep coming at him. When I took his best shot, I knew alright, I got him. Everybody knows he has a big overhand right, he’s put a lot of people to sleep with that, and then when I took it, I thought – oh okay, that’s what it is. And I felt good from then.”
“He came at me like a bull. I was like damn, oh shoot, I was trying to move out the way. I’m like, okay I’m going to start swinging. I’m going to let mine go then. I tried to fake with the overhand, jab right, bang bang, and it’s over – temple shot. Once you hit the temple, it’s almost over right there. There’s three places to knock somebody out, it’s right in the temple, behind the ear, and right in the chin. You hit anywhere with a solid punch and it’s over.”
“I’m just learning my overall game, footwork, speed, power, I’m just soaking it in. With Canelo there, it’s an honor. It makes me feel good just watching him spar, watching him train. He tells me I’m gonna do good, and I feel good.”
“I just want better competition, the more I step up. I’m only 21 and a lot of people forget that. But I’m going at my pace, whatever I feel I’m ready for, I’ll take on. Those fights down the line are huge fights, once my team feels I’m prepared. I’m always going to listen to my team.”
“I had an amazing training camp and I felt great tonight. Head butt or not, I still whooped her ass every round. I didn’t really target it too much. I felt great, I’m made for the late rounds. I can go 15 rounds, take it back old school.”
“It didn’t’ change my fight. l I fought with a gash on my head, blood was dripping down my face, I still won the rounds because I’m a fighter, that’s what I do.”
Rematch? “I mean, no, I clearly won every round head butt or not, and I mean, this isn’t even my weight class. I came up to fight her.”
“Of course there’s a difference because I walk around at 113, 112. Every week here in Vegas, I was eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She was underestimating me, I don’t hit like a 108 pounder. I hit like a middleweight. I would like to go to 108 pounds and fight one of the champions there. I want belts.”
“No, the beef is not settled. Respect to her team, but I still don’t like her.”
On the headbutt: “You know, it was early. So I was really trying to decide if it was ok or not. I’m sorry guys I couldn’t continue but I couldn’t see anything. I could have stopped after the 3rd round, 4th round, whenever it happened, but it was really hard to deal with, it was really hard to see. I didn’t think I was losing that many rounds at all though. She says she has a lot of power, she doesn’t , it was a headbutt. I continued fighting but I had to stop because I couldn’t see. I think it was a poor decision. Some of the rounds she did win, but it wasn’t like that. I couldn’t see.”
“It was multiple headbutts. A lot of times when we were clinching, and you saw me leaning in, it was because she rushed in with the headbutt. A lot of times it was making me dizzy. There wasn’t anything I could do with her head, I really thought I was winning. I could have gone two more rounds at the beginning, I was like, I’m just going to keep going. But I couldn’t see. I think it was a bad decision at the end. I didn’t think I lost that many rounds. I want to be sad but I can’t, because I got head-butted really early.
“I was really surprised. I didn’t feel that was what was happening at all. I was landing the punches on the outside, she was landing stuff on the inside after she head-butted me. I think the score cards were bad. Without that headbutt, It would have been a completely different story. It’s unfortunate.”
“Absolutely it was a wonderful performance. I tip my hat off to my opponent, he’s a tremendous athlete, he has tremendous power. All of his wins come by knockout. He caught me with one good shot in the first round but then I doubled back and came back. I am the definition of perseverance. I am the most exciting fighter today.”
On hitting the canvas Round 1: “I thought it was a tremendous shot to the back of the head, I thought it would come over the head but it caught me right behind the head. I just got right back up and was like okay, now it’s game time baby. It didn’t change anything. I got right back on my horse and kept persevering and working my plan, boxing taking him down, breaking him down, throwing body shots, head shots, mixing it up. And then I got a little bit dangerous with it, I got a little bit closer, and then I got that knockout baby.”
On knocking down Ortiz in Round 6: “I seen what I’ve always seen. My heritage coming from Mexico, from Guadalajara, I got back up, and we duked it out like real true champions. I’ve boxed in Mexico, I’ve boxed in Philadelphia, and now I’m back to the city lights of Las Vegas, Nevada. Woo! Nobody can stop me. Viva Mexico.”
“I love the way the fans have treated me because hey it’s all about the passion. Either you cheer for me or boo for me, it doesn’t matter, as long as you love it, as long as it’s an exciting fight. I’m ready for anybody, anytime, anywhere. Blair ‘The Flair’ is not scared of anybody. I’m getting closer, I’m boxing the inside, I’m boxing the outside, there’s nothing I can’t do.”
Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev
In tonight’s main event, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico defeated Segey Kovalev by knockout to claim the WBO Light Heavyweight world title and become a four division champion.
Ryan Garcia vs. Romero Duno
In the co-main event of the evening, Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia blasted Romero Duno, dropping him 1:30 into the fight.
The bout started fast with Duno coming forward trying to close the distance, landing a flush overhand on the chin of Garcia who took the shot well and stood his ground trading with Duno. Eventually, Garcia clipped Duno with a right hand and a short hook that set up a one two down the middle to the temple that dropped Duno, who was unable to make it to his feet before the referee stopped the contest.
Bakhram Murtazaliev vs. Jorge Fortea
In the fourth fight of the card undefeated Bakhram Murtazaliev (17-0, 13 KOs) defeated once beaten Jorge Fortea (20-2-1, 6 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision in their 12-round eliminator for a shot at the IBF Super Welterweight title.
Murtazaliev broke down and outworked his opponent from the opening bell bullying him onto the ropes where he unloaded combinations round after round.
Aside from the occasional clean single counter punch Fortea never managed to get his offense going instead shelling up hoping to whether the storm. Murtazaliev kept his pace the entire fight and thoroughly outboxed his opponent.
“I feel very good,” said Murtazaliev. “I was listening to the coach, I didn’t try to force anything and I was just listening to my coach. To all my fans, continue to watch my fans. I’ll get better and better and better.”
Seniesa Estrada vs. Marlen Esparza
In a bloody brawl Seniesa Estrada got sweet satisfaction defeating 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlene Esparza by technical unanimous decision claiming the interim WBA Flyweight title and settling her rivalry.
The bout was stopped in the ninth round due to a gash above the head of Esparza, which sent the fight to the judges who had the bout scored 90-81, 89-82, 88-83 in favor of Superbad.
Blair Cobbs vs. Carlos Ortiz Cervantes
In the first fight of the DAZN main card, popular undefeated Las Vegas local Blair “The Flare” Cobbs(13-0-1, 8 KOs) came back from an early knockdown in the closing seconds of the first round to win a sixth-round TKO victory over his game opponent Carlos Ortiz (11-4 11 KOs).
After rising from the knockdown, Cobbs remained cautious and patiently looked to set up his power shots behind feints and a triple jab.
The fight remained a tactical one through the opening rounds until the sixth when Cobbs’ patience paid off and he found his opening timing a perfect straight right hand that dropped Ortiz on his back.
Despite rising from the knockdown and surviving the rest of the round Ortiz corner stopped the bout between rounds at the insistence of the ringside physician.
“It was a wonderful performance, I tip my hat off to my opponent,” said Cobbs. “He’s a tremendous athlete and had tremendous power. Ortiz took a tremendous shot to the back of my head, but I just got right back up. I got right back on my horse and kept persevering. I’m working and getting better and better every time, there’s nothing I can’t do. Now it’s game time baby. I’m ready for anybody, anytime, anywhere. Nobody can stop me, viva Mexico!”
Meiirim Nursultanov vs. Cristian Olivas
The bout went to the scorecards, where all judges scored it 100 to 90 for Meiirim Nursultanov.
Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Clay Collard
Bektemir Melikuziev stopped Clay Collard by TKO in Round 4.
Evan Holyfield vs. Nick Winstead
In his professional debut the son of all-time great, Evander Holyfield, Evan Holyfield made quick work of his opponent swarming him to force a stoppage within the first minute.
Holyfield connected with a pair of flush jabs seconds into the round that snapped his opponents head back followed by a right cross that pushed his opponent onto the ropes.
Holyfield unloaded a flurry of punches that forced the referee to intervene and wave the fight off to the displeasure of the crowd who felt the stoppage came to soon.
“It was such a blessing to be able to showcase my talent on the card like this and God bless us all,” said Holyfield. “I was just expecting to box and I just went out there and did my job. I was zoned in and God just had me.”
Tristan Kalkreuth vs. Twon Smith
Undefeated Tristan Kalkreuth went the distance for the first time in his career, defeating Twon Smith by unanimous decision.
Kalkreuth patiently dominated the bout with his range and jab, using it to stay outside set up big combinations down the stretch and consistently beat Smith to the punch with flush right crosses and left hooks .
“I knew he was tough, he had twice the pro experience I did,” said Kalkreuth. “He’s pretty much a veteran but for that being my third fight I think I did good. I wish I put more punches on him and obviously the one thing that boxers want is to get the KO and that didn’t happen but I know this fight is going to help me later down in the road. I want to thank all my Latino fans for coming out here!”