THIS Saturday (January 18), Eleider “Storm” Alvarez has his first fight since losing both his unbeaten record and WBO light-heavyweight crown to Sergey Kovalev in February last year. Alvarez was outboxed and unanimously outscored by Kovalev, despite having knocked the fearsome Russian out in seven rounds to win the title just six months previously. An injured left foot kept the Montreal-based Colombian out of action after his rematch loss, but he returns at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York this weekend.
Up against Alvarez, 35, is former college American football player Michael Seals – a 37-year-old bruiser from Mobile, Alabama. Unlike Alvarez, who has vanquished the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal, Seals’ résumé is largely made up of unheralded opponents. The most significant name on his ledger is that of ex-super-middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez, who stopped him in three topsy-turvy rounds in November 2015.
Nicknamed “Cannon Handz”, Seals, 24-2 (18), can certainly dig. The former cruiserweight is taller than Alvarez and also boasts a longer reach, yet he does not possess the experience or quality of his South American rival. A 2008 Olympian with a powerful right hand, Alvarez, 24-1 (12), combines a shooting jab with clever footwork and accurate attacks. Coming off a defeat and sharing the ring with a heavy-handed adversary like Seals, he likely won’t take too many risks. The pick, therefore, is for Alvarez to triumph on the scorecards.