By John DiSanto at ringside
Challenger Eleider “Storm” Alvarez, 24-0, 12 KOs, shocked light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 32-3-1, 28 KOs, with a burst of power in round seven of their scheduled 12 round title bout in Atlantic City.
Alvarez, behind on the scorecards, caught the champion with a long right hand in the seventh that deposited Kovalev on the seat of his pants. Sergey got up, but Alvarez did not let him off the hook. The Colombian landed a left-right combination that sent Kovalev to the canvas again. The champion rose a second time, but with the round winding down, Alvarez sent him to the floor for a third time with a three-punch series. When Kovalev hit the deck, referee David Fields halted the fight at 2:45 of round seven. The upset TKO earned Alvarez the WBO and IBA titles and shook up the 175-pound division. At the time of the stoppage, Kovalev was ahead 58-56, 59-55, 59-55.
The 10-bout card was promoted by Main Events and the two light heavyweight title fights were televised live on HBO.