Kovalev vs Yarde

Kovalev vs Yarde Live Fight fight prediction, start time, live stream, odds, undercard It was an interesting turn of events, but 36-year-old Sergey Kovalev has seen himself transition from from aging light heavyweight titleholder looking to finally secure a title defense in his hometown to the leading contender to land a fight against boxing biggest star today.

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Admittedly, few could have predicted middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez’s sudden want to move up two divisions and target Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) as a possibility, even with the Mexican superstar’s blatant disinterest in the trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin that everyone — from fans, promoters and DAZN executives — so lustfully coveted.

A last-minute negotiation left Kovalev at an interesting crossroads. Despite having already signed a deal to defend his title on Saturday in his native Chelyabinsk, Russia, against unbeaten Anthony Yarde, Kovalev received a last-minute offer in upwards of eight figures from Alvarez’s team at Golden Boy Promotions for an Oct. 26 bout in Las Vegas that would require Kovalev to pay Yarde a large fee to step aside.

In a somewhat risky decision, Kovalev chose to have his cake and eat it too. Not only will his fight against Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) go on as scheduled Saturday at Traktor Sport Palace (ESPN+, 12:30 p.m. ET), largely because Kovalev gave his word, the “Krusher” is hoping a victory will still get him the Alvarez fight later this fall.

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“We did have an offer (from Canelo Alvarez) but we can talk about that after Saturday night,” Kovalev said. “Official agreements were already made with Antony Yarde. My primary task is to defend the title. If the fight is still interesting for Canelo afterwards, then OK.

“[The offer came] just three weeks before this fight. And the offer was indeed a big one, a substantial one. But you never do it like that, because I have to be here. This is my home and this is not what I do.”

Kovalev is not only gambling from the standpoint that losing to Yarde would remove any hope that he lands Alvarez in what would be a career-high payday and likely the final one of this kind available to him, but he’s also risking that Alvarez doesn’t sign on to face someone else regardless.

In Kovalev’s favor, of course, is the mess that Alvarez left behind at DAZN after turning down GGG, pulling out of his annual Mexican Independence Day weekend slot in September and getting stripped of his IBF title when negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko crumbled. Kovalev may end up the lone remaining option that both Alvarez and DAZN agree upon should he come away victorious.

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