Canelo Álvarez will move up two weight classes to challenge Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight championship on 2 November at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the Mexican boxer announced on Friday.
Álvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), who is coming off a close but uncontroversial points win over Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight championship unification fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend, will take aim at a world title in a fourth division after negotiations for a much-anticipated third fight with nemesis Gennady Golovkin fell through.
“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” Álvarez said in a release. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”
Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), a three-time champion at 175lbs, is fresh off an 11th-round knockout of Britain’s Anthony Yarde to retain the WBO title in Russia last month. It will mark the 17th consecutive world title bout for the 36-year-old knockout artist.
“In order to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kovalev said. “I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready.”
Álvarez, who has never fought above super middleweight, can become only the fourth fighter in boxing history to win titles at 154lbs and 175lbs, joining Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Mike McCallum.