David Haye Exclusive: A 'crazy' step up for Canelo but he can beat Kovalev on split decision

Boxer Saul Alvarez
Saul Alvarez picked to shade a tight points decision

Saul Alvarez moves up to light heavyweight to face WBO champion Sergey Kovalev and Betfair Ambassador David Haye is expecting a close contest in Las Vegas...

"To fight someone as big as Sergey Kovalev is a crazy move and this bout is pushing it to the absolute limit."

Kovalev proved he still has it last time

This rates as another very impressive step up in weight for Saul Alvarez but one many would have advised him not to take. The main reason for that, weight aside, is opponent Sergey Kovalev proved last time out he still has it at the top level. He beat a big light heavyweight in Anthony Yarde by an 11th round stoppage.

This is the 175lb division and we can expect Kovalev to enter the ring closer to 200lbs, whereas Canelo has moved all the way up from the welterweight division. It's a massive step up but moving through the divisions is something all great fighters must do to secure their legacy. It's unnecessary and dangerous but a real fan friendly move from Saul Alvarez.

Mexican deserves respect

As much as I have always liked the Mexican, I now respect him that much more for putting his reputation and record on the line. He's in against someone with a significant reach advantage, is much heavier in weight and has carved out a career fighting bigger and stronger opponents.

Having said that, I do believe this is probably as high as Canelo can go in terms of giving away height and weight. To fight someone as big as Sergey Kovalev is a crazy move and this bout is pushing it to the absolute limit. I don't expect him to go up again after this clash in Las Vegas.

All the talk in the build up to this contest has focussed on Alvarez but it shouldn't be forgotten just how good Sergey Kovalev is. He had a cracking amateur pedigree. He has lost a few fights in recent years, but those defeats have come against world class opposition, such as Andre Ward. Other than that, he has had a great career.

Close fight expected

This is a very tough fight for Saul Alvarez to win but I'm backing him to pull it off. I believe he's the real deal. I rate him as a living legend of the sport and as a fighter myself I fully appreciate his style and speed. His two fights with Triple G Gennady Golovkin were fantastic and the only blemish on his career so far came against Floyd Mayweather Jr on a points decision many years ago when he was still very young.

This will be a great fight, I'm very excited about it and will try to get out to Las Vegas to be ringside for it. I expect a very close contest and will be taking Saul Alvarez to win by split decision. The Betfair Sportsbook offers 1/4 on Canelo winning and even money for the points victory. Kovalev is 10/3 to claim a 35th career win in 39 fights.

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