If you have to sit through a swampy maulfest of a boxing match, the least you can get out of it is an early Knockout of the Year candidate. So, uh, thanks, Eleider Alvarez and Michael Seals?
Saturday night’s ESPN main event served as Alvarez’s return to light heavyweight action after 11 months off after an Achilles injury that may have played a role in his rematch loss to Sergey Kovalev. That Seals was a big puncher gave it the only other intrigue it had.
OK, not the only intrigue. It’s early in 2020, but this has a chance of being the Eyebrow Match-up of the Year. Seals was all 🤨to Alvarez’s 😠.
Anyway: Alvarez’s rust, along with an ample showing of respect for each other’s power, contributed to this thing being ugly as all get-out. For the first three rounds, especially, but also throughout, it seemed less like a fight and more like some kind of strange vogue-ing competition for diversity of wrapping their arms around each other. We had the missed shot behind the head followed by the clinch! We had the reverse no-look! We had the cuff under the arms! The bent-down forward headlock!
Seals started throwing meaningful punches in the 4th, after simply looking for the 1-2 and not acting on it. Alvarez had been displaying the more diverse arsenal but not impressing. It seemed to wake Alvarez up; he became more accurate, rocking Seals twice in the 5th with 45 degree angle rights.
In the 6th, Alvarez’s jab produced a nosebleed. This was the round when ESPN’s team noticed Alvarez looking for the clock at every opportunity, something he’d been doing for several before that, too. He might have been tired after all that time outside the ring.
It didn’t stop him from smashing Seals with another of those rights in the 7th, sending him down like a column falling over.
Alvarez was expectedly not in his finest form, but hey, we got a big ol’ KO out of it. What Alvarez gets out of it is staying in the mix of a 175-pound division with a ton of parity.
(Michael Seals, left, Eleider Alvarez, right; via)