Heavy Hitters and the World Boxing Super Series Final - November Boxing Preview

As the year draws to a close November brings us yet another mouth watering month of boxing featuring Canelo Alvarez's next fight, stepping up two weight classes, a world heavyweight title fight, two YouTube stars going head to head and the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament among others. Putting aside the circus of the fight between KSI and Logan Paul, despite the potential for boxing reaching another large fan base, I will be looking ahead to my pick of three legitimate fights this month. 

In October we have seen a new star emerge in the light heavyweight division and Gennady Golovkin with a world title around his waist after yet another thrilling fight involving the Kazakh fighter. My preview and predictions correctly called Golovkin's tight points win and also a knockout in the other featured match up, although it was Beterbiev who floored Gvozdyk to become unified light heavyweight champion. That very same division could be shaken up yet again this weekend so without further ado here is November's boxing preview: 

**I do not own any of the video material - all credit to the relevant broadcasters and YouTube users**

Saul (Canelo) Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev - Saturday 2nd
WBO World Light Heavyweight Title
TV: Live on DAZN and Sky Sports Action @1:00

Canelo and Kovalev
Picture Courtesy of badlefthook.com

29 year old WBC Franchise (rolls eyes) and WBA (super - rolls eyes again) world middleweight champion Canelo is without doubt one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world and is probably the most recognizable name in the sport today. The (52-2-1) (35KO) Mexican fighter is moving up 15 lbs to win a world title in another weight class. He is ranked number one at Middleweight according to Boxrec rankings and has beaten the two next highest ranked fighters in Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision in May and Golovkin after drawing their first meeting. I mentioned about the controversy in previewing Golovkin's fight last month so I am not going to bring that topic up here again, although everyone has their opinion on who won that last fight. This time last year Canelo won an interim super middleweight belt against an over matched Rocky Fielding in a fight which was painful to watch, more so for Fielding who was dropped and stopped by crunching body shots. With the Mexican now into his third fight of an 11 fight deal with DAZN worth a reported $365million it looks as if the sky is the limit for Canelo who will only be looking for super fights or legacy fights throughout this deal. That is of course excluding the third fight with Golovkin where Canelo feels he wins easily but still won't take the fight. Make sense to you? Me neither. 

I am sorry I couldn't help myself so here are highlights of Canelo-GGG II: 

WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-1-3) (29KO) standing at 6 feet tall will take a two inch reach and four inch height advantage into this fight where he will surely leave with the biggest fight purse of his career. Now 36 years old the number one in the light heavyweight rankings according to Boxrec is the underdog heading into this fight. Potentially a final swansong for the Russian, he has every chance of going out on a high, if he decides to call it a day after receiving the massive pay check. It is highly likely he will when he checks his bank account in the morning. He will be stepping into the ring less than three months after defending his belt against mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde. Kovalev dominated that fight but Yarde had the champion rocked in the eight. Kovalev eventually recovered and stopped the challenger in the 11th round. The Russian made his professional debut in 2009, four years after Canelo. The last three years have been quite mixed for the champion. After beating Jean Pascal for the second time in 2016 to defend his three light heavyweight belts he has lost three of his last seven fights. The first and second of these losses were to retired Andre Ward. The first fight was a thriller with Ward edging a UD by one point on all three scorecards - Kovalev knocked Ward down on to a knee with a right hand in the second round. Seven months later in the rematch both fighters had joy until the eight when Ward unleashed a barrage of punches to the head and body but it was the body punches that made the referee step in. Kovalev won back the WBO belt in his next fight with Ward retired and defended with a strong impressive performance against Mihalkin who was stopped due to a cut in the 7th. In August 2018, Kovalev lost his belt to Eleider Alvarez after being knocked down three times in a fight he was winning on the scorecards. He avenged that defeat six months later winning a unanimous decision. You can see Kovalev winning his belt back below:

The majority of fans have Canelo winning this fight and I am inclined to agree. Kovalev is a great champion and there is every chance Canelo will not be able to sustain the Russian's punching power over 12 rounds. Throughout the Mexican's career we have seen his incredible punch resistance, particularly in the Golovkin fights. I have no doubt damage will be done and we won't see Canelo in any rush to get back into the ring after this one. This one will be tight and will have some back and forth moments. Kovalev has major punching power but he can be hit and at 36 I think his best is past him. He will gas out towards the end and Canelo will move in and end the fight. Don't be surprised to see it go to the scorecards though. 

Prediction: Canelo by late stoppage

Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue - Thursday 7th
WBA 'Super' + IBF World Bantamweight titles
TV: Live on DAZN

These two will compete for the Ali Trophy
Picture Courtesy of worldboxingsuperseries.com

Like many boxing fans I am not one for the lower weights but these two athletes I know something about. Another veteran, 36 year old Donaire (40-5) (26KO), brings his storied career to the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Final. I have to say I am a huge fan of this tournament. It has brought us an undisputed cruiserweight champion and now it serves up a fight of the older generation against a rising superstar. When I first started getting into boxing Donaire was the man in the lower weights. The Philippines native has a raft of impressive victories at different weights and is a four weight world champion. It took the tactical style of Rigondeaux to take his WBA and WBO super bantamweight titles in a unanimous decision defeat despite a 10th round knockdown in 2013. Donaire was once again a world champion the following year at featherweight but the champ was stopped by Nicholas Walters in his next fight. A drop back down to super bantamweight brought the WBO title but Donaire was outpointed by Magdaleno in 2016. A superior Carl Frampton stopped a featherweight charge towards another title as Donaire dropped another unanimous decision. The World Boxing Super Series brought maybe a final chance for another world title reign and his quarter final opponent was heavily fancied WBA champion Burnett. A terrific signature counter left hook in the third round damaged Burnett and left him struggling to a point where an over extended right hand did even more damage to the champion’s back forcing the end of the fight. Donaire's latest fight, a sixth round stoppage of Stephon Young who was drafted in for the inured Zolani Tete, booked a final spot for the great champion against the man they call ‘The Monster’. Below are highlights of Donaire's semi-final win: 

Japan’s Inoue (18-0) (16KO) is not called ‘The Monster’ for fun. Despite his height being just 5’5 his knockout power cannot be overestimated. He turned pro in 2012, 11 years after his opponent, after an impressive amateur career. His style has not changed and he is tipped for a huge future in the sport. Having held world titles at light flyweight he jumped to super flyweight and won the WBO belt with a second round knockout. David Carmona, in 2016, was the last fighter to bring Inoue the distance but that fight was a lopsided win, on two of the cards at least. Five consecutive stoppage wins followed before a fight that was billed up as a super fight against Jamie McDonnell, with the Japanese star moving up to Bantamweight. A left hook that landed high on McDonnell’s head shook the champion and two knockdowns in the next 20 seconds ended the fight in the very first round. The World Boxing Super Series tournament has been a breeze with a 1st round KO over Juan Carlos Payano which took just a minute. Last time out in Glasgow, Inoue was on a Josh Taylor undercard knocking Emmanuel Rodriguez down three times in the second round. Power personified. Here is Inoue's semi-final win: 

Inoue is a heavy favourite and rightly so. His power has come up trumps time and time again. Donaire is a fighter that will be remembered by fans who follow the lower weights as one of the best but I think he could be up against it here. His venture up and down the weights will have him equip to deal with the power of Inoue, who can also box by the way. The counter left will be important when Inoue tries to get on the inside. I would like to see Donaire go the distance but I do not think he will.

Prediction: Inoue win by stoppage - potentially in the middle rounds.

Deontay Wilder v Luis Ortiz II
WBC World Heavyweight Title
TV: Sky Sports Action / Fox Sports PPV

Wilder and Ortiz face off ahead of their rematch
Picture courtesy of cbssports.com

The rematch is finally on after months of negotiations and uncertainty. The first fight in March 2018 was one of the few fights Wilder was in serious trouble but The Bronze Bomber recovered to stop Ortiz in the 10th. Seemingly on a mission to beat all of his opponents without fuss or hassle, Wilder looks set to rematch Tyson Fury after this fight, depending on Fury’s plans. Wilder's net worth is rumoured to be around $30 million and rumours are a unification fight could follow that (finally) where he will call it a day after one last big pay check, but that is rumours. Wilder (41-1-0) (40KO) is undefeated not due to his boxing ability but mainly to do with his killer right hand. None of his opponents have been able to deal with his raw power. Wilder has been champion since 2015 but has not received much credit due to his opponents and the fact he has stayed away from a n undisputed match with Anthony Joshua before the British fighter lost his belts to Andy Ruiz. Politics is rife in boxing these days and Wilder will tell you Ortiz has been avoided by the other major players in the division and it would be hard to disagree with that point. Wilder dismantled Dominic Breazeale in the first round last time out bringing his number of first round stoppages to 20. Wilder can be hit and has been rocked in fights but his right hand saves the day. The Tyson Fury fight was controversial with many including myself giving Fury every round bar the two knockdowns. The draw was awarded and the 12th round knockdown was a shot that would have finished any heavyweight in the rankings right now. Other than Fury, only one opponent has gone the distance and that was the 2015 title fight with Bermane Stiverne, but just like this current mission of making every win convincing, Stiverne was knocked out in the first round two years ago. Highlights of the Wilder-Fury fight last December: 

Luis Ortiz is now 40 years old. The Cuban (31-1) (26KO) is without doubt a solid heavyweight contender but has lacked title fights throughout his career, might be something to do with the failed drug tests but moving on, so this will be his last chance one would think. Ortiz has had two wins since the last Wilder fight but they were far from star names. He blazed through Kauffman with three knockdowns but Christian Hammer brought the Cuban the distance losing a wide points decision. Ortiz’s record has stoppage wins over Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson, Malik Scott and Dave Allen and his dangerous power is something Wilder himself knows all about. He was once WBA interim world champion – can he shock the world and derail the heavyweight division like Andy Ruiz Jr. did in June? Ortiz's weight for his last fight seen him come in slimmer than he has done since 2015 so could this be the key to wearing down Wilder? You can see for yourself how the first fight with Wilder unfolded: 

I think the time has passed for Ortiz and the first fight was his best opportunity. I do believe he will cause Wilder a couple of early problems. The Bronze Bomber was knocked down by Harold Sconiers in 2010, so Ortiz will have to do just that to win this fight. There should not be number 21 first round knockout for Wilder’s record but he will win this fight by stopping his opponent more convincingly than the last meeting.

Prediction: Wilder by stoppage, earlier than the 10th.

If I am to be correct than the bookies’ favourites will come up victorious with stoppage wins in these three fights but anything can happen.

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