Jim Lampley often gets a much better handle on what has a good chance of going down, and WHO might, at the Friday fighter meeting.
I asked him on Sunday what he learned from the Friday meetup with Eleider Alvarez, the Colombian Canadian light heavyweight Saturday evening in AC and on HBO.
“One of the most impressive fighter meetings I can remember. Bright, engaging, thrilled to finally have his chance, ready and confident but aware,” he said of Alvarez, who scored a stoppage in round seven over the Russian banger Sergey Kovalev.
“Openly acknowledged that right hand injury at end of amateur career had robbed him of power, and that had motivated going with Marc Ramsay to Montreal and learning, over a ten year buildup, to win with varied boxing skills. I told several people before the fight I thought he had a viable chance to go the distance, threaten Sergei on scorecards, maybe even win. Urged a couple from Colombia to bet on him. NEVER could have anticipated what he did. NEVER based on his honest conversation. Such a revelation. If I were Kathy Duva I would focus on the rematch clause and resist putting Dmitriy Bivol in with him right away. I love Bivol, but Eleider has GAME. Focus on seeing if he can beat Sergei twice, and get Bivol a few more experiences. There is a new Colombian sheriff in town, one who grew up speaking Spanish, speaks French in daily life now, and can handle some English. He is a man in full.”
And something happened during the fight which had Lampley knowing which was it was going to go….
“I can’t emphasize this enough: what happened was something HE basically told us was impossible. He wasn’t sandbagging. He got pumped up. When he began yelling at Sergei in the fourth round, something RJJ tells me connotes fighting heart, I knew he wouldn’t back down. And no light heavyweight I have seen would have recovered from the temple shot, except maybe Andre Ward. That was too good. Can’t wait to see him again.”
So..a Star was born? Or as was there but we hadn’t been looking in the right section of the sky.
“Alvarez has beaten name fighters and sparred a lot with Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Artur Beterbiev. Was there all along but hadn’t gotten the chance to show it. Worst possible thing was to become Stevenson’s mandatory, guaranteeing he wouldn’t get the fight. Obviously Stevenson knew. Sergei didn’t. Simple as that.”
Or, maybe Kovalev is from a different cloth and didn’t need to know or care, he was going to enter the ring and do his thing, let those chips fall….
Anyway, talk to me.
What do you want next for Alvarez? And for that matter, Kovalev?