It’s an unwritten rule in life that after anything unexpected happens, many of those who viewed it will spend an inordinate amount of time on the autopsy. They will generally be looking for those little nuggets of information that went unseen. Because if they’d had all the facts, they never would’ve been surprised. This is particularly loathsome in boxing, because, in case you were not aware, everyone is a trained psychologist with penetrating insights that would make Jung, Skinner, and their ilk renounce any knowledge of the field. Following that are the interviews of former managers, trainers, dog walkers, and anyone else with whom the losing fighter has fallen out over the years. All of this, every last bit, is an attempt to know WHY it happened.
Last weekend, Sergey Kovalev lost to underdog Eleider Alavarez. HOW he lost should’ve rendered any further discussion superfluous, because Kovalev got knocked the fuck out. He was ahead in the fight, then pulled straight back with his hands low (as he has done his whole damn career) and an excellent counterpuncher whose record belies his actual power surged forward at the exact right moment and detonated a brutal overhand right on Kovalev’s temple. Kovalev’s legs turned into stilts on ice and he skittered backward before landing on his ass. Clearly hurt, the Russian got up and didn’t clinch or run. For that lapse in judgement, Alvarez punished him with a left hook/uppercut that collapsed Kovalev into a heap, his left arm folded under and behind him in the fashion that only yoga hippies and people who’ve just had their entire nervous system scrambled can manage. The fight could’ve and likely should’ve been stopped, but up he rose only to get dropped again and the fight waived off.
Do you want to know why Kovalev lost, really lost? Eleider Alvarez was better and took advantage of a perfect opening. Don’t believe me?
Maybe Kovalev is lazy, ungrateful, and a racist, as former trainer John David Jackson claimed this week. Maybe he is a front running bully who couldn’t mentally process his first loss and is now a broken husk of a man and it showed up again last weekend as innumerable people have claimed.
Probably though, he’s a very good light heavyweight who is slipping slightly at age 35 and has now lost to two fighters who could withstand his offense and then return with their own. It’s worth noting that both Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez had to brutalize him to get him out. And in case you’ve forgotten, after dropping Kovalev with a filthy overhand right as he pulled back with his hands low (I see a trend), Andre Ward hit Kovalev with one of the most psychotically evil body shots I’ve ever seen.
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t hypothesize or discuss. But fighters have a short prime and if 90% of the post fight conversation is a conspiracy theory level dive down the rabbit hole of the loser’s pysche and relationships instead of celebrating the winner, we’re missing the fucking point.
- If you’re asking me to believe that Sergio Martinez is seriously training for a comeback based entirely on a hypothetical statement he made during an interview with someone else, you’re gonna have to try harder. I know we all loved Zoolander, but ask any washed athlete who still enjoys their sport if they think about coming back, they’ll pretty much all at least entertain it as a thought experiment. The Martinez who lost to Cotto couldn’t make it through a full camp, let alone a fight. And he’s four years older now.
- I really want to like Dmitry Bivol but he’s not moving the needle for me at all. I know Isaac Chilemba is damn near impossible to look good against, but every time I see the Russian fight I’m bored.
- Why is BJ Flores still a thing?
- There are a lot of really fun fights to be made at heavyweight. The verbal sparring matches are not among them. I’ve never given the slightest fuck what Deontay Wilder says and I’m even less interested in Dominic Breazeale’s response.