Former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev 34-4-1 (29) has blamed a short turnaround between fights for his loss to world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 52-1-2 (36) on Saturday night.
The 36-year-old controlled much of the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, before succumbing to Alvarez’s power punches in the 11th frame.
“I was tired after round six, because I had my last fight very close to this one, but it’s okay, it’s a new experience for me,” Kovalev said.
“Canelo is really a great champion. A little bit right now, I didn’t recover from my last fight. But it’s okay. Thanks for the fight Canelo, I have big respect for him. He made history.”
Kovalev’s previous fight took place just 10 weeks ago when he knocked out Britain’s Anthony Yarde 18-1 (17) in 11 rounds.
The Russian veteran boxed a composed fight against Alvarez, utilising his strong and effective jab to control the distance and the pace of the fight.
Somewhat surprisingly Kovalev didn’t sit down on his punches much, opting instead to keep touching Alvarez and rack up the points rather than go for the knockout.
Mexican superstar Alvarez, 29, was leading on two of the judges’ scorecards 96-94 while the third judge had the fight even at 95-95 at the time of the stoppage.
Kovalev explained the rationale behind not throwing heavy shots.
“To open my body less, I had to use more jabs, more safe,” he said.
After 17 straight world title fights covering more than half of his 10-year pro career, Kovalev insists retirement isn’t in his immediate future.
“I’ll be back,” he said. “I’ll be back much stronger. I know that I can be a unified champion, let’s make a unification fight. But nobody wants to fight me in my division.
“This guy is more fresh, he came into my division more fresh. He has more stamina, but it’s okay, it’s a good experience for me.”
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