Tag Archive 'Just for Fun'

Dec 03 2019

St. Bernard (dog)

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The St. Bernard or St Bernard (UK: /?b??n?d/, US: /b?r?n??rd/) is a breed of very large working dog from the western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred for rescue by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border. The hospice, built by and named after Italian monk Bernard of Menthon, acquired its first dogs between 1660 and 1670. The breed has become famous through tales of alpine rescues, as well as for its enormous size.

The St. Bernard is a giant dog. The weight of the breed is between 65 and 120 kg (140 and 260 lb) or more, and the approximate height at the withers is 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in).

The coat can be either smooth or rough; the smooth coat being close and flat while the rough is dense, flat, and more profuse around the neck and legs. The colour is typically a red shade with white, or a mahogany brindle with white. Black shading is usually found on the face and ears.

The tail is long and heavy, hanging low.

Eyes are usually brown, but sometimes can be icy blue, and should have naturally tight lids, with haws only slightly visible.

St Bernard with the iconic barrel. The monks of the St Bernard Hospice attribute this legend to an 1820 painting by Edwin Landseer (see below).

Saint Bernard skeleton.



The ancestors of the St. Bernard share a history with the Sennenhunds. The St. Bernard, also called Alpine Mountain Dogs or Alpine Cattle Dogs, are the large farm dogs of the farmers and dairymen of most notably the French Alps, livestock guardians, herding dogs, and draft dogs as well as hunting dogs, search and rescue dogs, and watchdogs. These dogs are thought to be descendants of molosser type dogs brought into the Alps by the ancient Romans, and the St. Bernard is recognized internationally today as one of the Molossoid breeds.

The earliest written records of the St. Bernard breed are from monks at the Great St Bernard Hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass in 1707, with paintings and drawings of the dog dating even earlier. The first evidence that the dogs were in use at the monastery is in two paintings dating to 1690 by Italian artist Salvator Rosa. The most famous St. Bernard to save people at the pass was Barry (sometimes spelled Berry), who reportedly saved somewhere between 40 and 100 lives. There is a monument to Barry in the Cimetiere des Chiens, and his body was preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne.
Another famous dog was Rutor, the faithful companion of the Italian priest Pierre Chanoux, who was named after the peak Tete du Rutor located above the Little St Bernard pass.
The classic St. Bernard looked very different from the St. Bernard of today because of cross-breeding. Severe winters from 1816 to 1818 led to increased numbers of avalanches, killing many of the dogs used for breeding while they were performing rescues. In an attempt to preserve the breed, the remaining St. Bernards were crossed with Newfoundlands brought from the Colony of Newfoundland in the 1850s, and so lost much of their use as rescue dogs in the snowy climate of the alps because the long fur they inherited would freeze and weigh them down.

The dogs never received any special training from the monks. Instead, younger dogs would learn how to perform search and rescue operations from older dogs.

The Swiss St. Bernard Club was founded in Basel on 15 March 1884. The St. Bernard was the very first breed entered into the Swiss Stud Book in 1884, and the breed standard was finally approved in 1888. Since then, the breed has been a Swiss national dog.

The dogs at the St Bernard hospice were working dogs that were smaller than today’s show St Bernard’s dogs. Originally about the size of a German Shepherd Dog, the St Bernard grew to the size of today’s dog as kennel clubs and dog shows emphasized appearance over the dog’s working ability, along with a closed stud book.

An open stud book would have allowed breeders to correct such errors by breeding in working dogs of other dog breeds.

Italian priest Pierre Chanoux and his faithful St Bernard dog, Rutor.

St. Bernard rescue dog in Valais.

Painting by John Emms portraying St. Bernards as rescue dogs.

The name “St. Bernard” originates from the Great St. Bernard Hospice, a traveler’s hospice on the often treacherous Great St. Bernard Pass in the Western Alps, between Switzerland and Italy. The pass, the lodge, and the dogs are named for Bernard of Menthon, the 11th century Italian monk who established the station.

“St. Bernard” was not in widespread use until the middle of the 19th century. The dogs were called “Saint Dogs”, “Noble Steeds”, “Alpenmastiff”, or “Barry Dogs” before that time.

The collective name for a large group of Saint Bernards is a “floof”.

The breed is strikingly similar to the English Mastiff, with which it shares a common ancestor known as the Alpine Mastiff. The modern St. Bernard breed is radically different than the original dogs kept at the St. Bernard hospice, most notably by being much larger in size and build. Since the late 1800s, the St. Bernard breed has been ever refined and improved using many different large Molosser breeds, including the Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, English Mastiff, and possibly the Tibetan Mastiff and Caucasian Ovcharka. Other breeds such as the Rottweiler, Boxer, and English Bulldog may have contributed to the St. Bernard’s bloodline as well. It is suspected that many of these large breeds were used to redevelop each other to combat the threat of their extinction after World War II, which may explain why all of them played a part in the creation of the St. Bernard as seen today.

The four Sennenhund breeds, the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog), the Berner Sennenhund, (Bernese Mountain Dog), the Appenzeller Sennenhund, (Appenzeller), and the Entlebucher Sennenhund (Entlebucher Mountain Dog) are similar in appearance and share the same location and history, but are tricolor rather than red and white.

The Russian army kennels crossbreed St Bernards with Caucasian Ovcharka to produce the Moscow Watchdogs that are still used as military service dogs in Russia today. St Bernards have in common many characteristics of other mountain dog breeds.

Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler by Edwin Landseer (1820)

A St. Bernard with short coat

St. Bernard Dog in winter

Longhaired St. Bernards

Longhaired St. Bernard Dog

St. Bernard puppy with colours not distinctively pronounced

The St. Bernard is recognised internationally by the Federation Cynologique Internationale as a Molosser in Group 2, Section 2. The breed is recognised by The Kennel Club (UK), the Canadian Kennel Club, and the American Kennel Club in the Working Dog breed group. The United Kennel Club in the United States places the breed in the Guardian Dog Group. The New Zealand Kennel Club and the Australian National Kennel Council place the breed in the Utility Group

St. Bernard dogs are no longer used for Alpine rescues, the last recorded instance of which was in 1955. As late as 2004, the Great St Bernard Hospice still retained 18 of the dogs for reasons of tradition and sentiment. In that year the Barry Foundation created breeding kennels for the breed at the town of Martigny down the Great Saint Bernard Pass, and purchased the remaining dogs from the Hospice. During the summer months each year a number of the animals are temporarily relocated from Martigny to the Hospice for viewing by tourists.

An annual celebration of the breed takes place on the Little Saint Bernard Pass and at the town of Rosieres-Montvalzan on the French side. Saint Bernard dog enthusiasts and breeders gather for a dog show and parades.

The animals bred by the Foundation are trained to participate in a variety of dog sports including carting and weight pulling. The dogs at the Barry Foundation are reportedly smaller than the average St Bernard.[citation needed]

The very fast growth rate and the weight of a St. Bernard can lead to very serious deterioration of the bones if the dog does not get proper food and exercise. Many dogs are genetically affected by hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) has been shown to be hereditary in the breed. They are susceptible to eye disorders called entropion and ectropion, in which the eyelid turns in or out. The breed standard indicates that this is a major fault. The breed is also susceptible to epilepsy and seizures, a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, and eczema.

US and UK breed clubs put the average lifespan for a St. Bernard at 8-10 years. A 2003 Danish breed survey (35 dogs) puts the median lifespan at 9.5 years while a UK breed survey in 2004 (53 dogs) puts the median lifespan at 7 years. In the UK survey about one in five lived to >10 years with the longest lived dog at 12 years and 9 months.

A study of genetically related polyneuropathy in the breed was conducted.

Known as a classic example of a gentle giant, the Saint Bernard is calm, patient and sweet with adults, and especially children. However St. Bernards, like all very large dogs, must be well socialized with people and other dogs in order to prevent fearfulness and any possible aggression or territoriality. The biggest threat to small children is being accidentally knocked over by this breed’s larger size. Overall they are a gentle, loyal and affectionate breed, and if socialized are very friendly. Because of its large adult size, it is essential that proper training and socialization begin while the St. Bernard is still a puppy, so as to avoid the difficulties that normally accompany training large dogs. An unruly St. Bernard may present problems for even a strong adult, so control needs to be asserted from the beginning of the dog’s training. While generally not instinctively protective, a St. Bernard may bark at strangers, and their size makes them good deterrents against possible intruders.

The Saint Bernard was bred to be a working companion and to this day the St. Bernard lives to please its master and is an amiable yet hard worker. St. Bernards have retained their natural ability for scent work and depending on the skill of the trainer and the talents of the dog, St. Bernards can participate in tracking events or even become involved in search and rescue work.

St. Bernards were exported to England in the mid-19th century, where they were bred with mastiffs to create an even larger dog. Plinlimmon, a famous St. Bernard of the time, was measured at 95 kg (210 lbs) and 87.5 cm (34?1?2ins), and was sold to an American for $7000. Commercial pressure encouraged breeding ever larger dogs until “the dogs became so gross that they had difficulties in getting from one end of a show ring to another”.

An 1895 New York Times report mentions a St. Bernard named Major F. measuring 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) in length, who, if the claims are true, would be the longest dog in history. Another St. Bernard named Benedictine V Schwarzwald Hof (Pierson, Michigan, USA) also reached 315 lb (143 kg), which earned a place in the 1981 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. Also, A St. Bernard named Benedictine holds the world record for the Heaviest Dog Ever. Benedictine, who displaced Zorba as the heaviest dog of all time, is said to have weighed 367 pounds.

St. Bernards are often portrayed, especially in old live action comedies such as Swiss Miss, the TV series Topper, and classic cartoons, wearing small barrels of brandy around their necks. Avalanche victims supposedly drank the brandy to stay warm while awaiting rescue, although this is medically unsound. The monks of the St. Bernard Hospice deny that any St. Bernard has ever carried casks or small barrels around their necks; they attribute the image to an 1820 painting by Edwin Landseer, perhaps Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler (which became a popular engraving in 1831 by Charles Landseer). The monks did keep casks around for photographs by tourists.

There was apparently at least one dog that really did carry brandy. In The Percy Anecdotes, by Thomas Byerley, published in 1823, the following anecdote appears, and was often quoted in other books in the 19th century:

The breed of dogs kept by the monks to assist them … has been long celebrated for its sagacity and fidelity. All the oldest and most tried of them were lately buried, along with some unfortunate travellers, under a valanche [sic]; but three or four hopeful puppies were left at home in the convent, and still survive. The most celebrated of those who are no more, was a dog called Barry. This animal served the hospital for the space of twelve years, during which time he saved the lives of forty individuals. His zeal was indefatigable. Whenever the mountain was enveloped in fogs and snow, he set out in search of lost travellers. He was accustomed to run barking until he lost breath, and would frequently venture on the most perilous places. When he found his strength was insufficient to draw from the snow a traveller benumbed with cold, he would run back to the hospital in search of the monks….

When old age deprived him of strength, the Prior of the Convent pensioned him at Berney, by way of reward. After his death, his hide was stuffed and deposited in the museum of that town. The little phial, in which he carried a reviving liquor for the distressed travellers whom he found among the mountains, is still suspended from his neck.

A Punch magazine cartoon from 1949 depicts a man with a St. Bernard and several puppies, all of which are wearing neck casks. The man explains, “Of course, I only breed them for the brandy.”

A frequent joke in old MGM and Warner Brothers shorts is to depict the dogs as compulsive alcoholics who engage in frequent nips from their own casks.

The famous St. Bernard dog Barry found a small boy in the snow and persuaded the child to climb on his back. The dog then carried the boy to safety.

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Dec 03 2019

The Intelligence of Dogs

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The Intelligence of Dogs is a 1994 book on dog intelligence by Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The book explains Coren’s theories about the differences in intelligence between various breeds of dogs. Coren published a second edition in 2006.

Coren defines three aspects of dog intelligence in the book: instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence. Instinctive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, or supplying companionship. Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to solve problems on its own. Working and obedience intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to learn from humans.

The book’s ranking focuses on working and obedience intelligence. Coren sent evaluation requests to American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club obedience trial judges, asking them to rank breeds by performance, and received 199 responses, representing about 50 percent of obedience judges then working in North America. Assessments were limited to breeds receiving at least 100 judge responses. This methodology aimed to eliminate the excessive weight that might result from a simple tabulation of obedience degrees by breed. Its use of expert opinion followed precedent.

Coren found substantial agreement in the judges’ rankings of working and obedience intelligence, with Border collies consistently named in the top ten and Afghan Hounds consistently named in the lowest. The highest ranked dogs in this category were Border collies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers.

Dogs that are not breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club (such as the Jack Russell Terrier) were not included in Coren’s rankings.

When Coren’s list of breed intelligence first came out there was much media attention and commentary both pro and con. However over the years the ranking of breeds and the methodology used have come to be accepted as a valid description of the differences among dog breeds in terms of the trainability aspect of dog intelligence. In addition, measurements of canine intelligence using other methods have confirmed the general pattern of these rankings including a new study using owner ratings to rank dog trainability and intelligence. 79 ranks are given (plus 52 ties), a total of 138 breeds ranked:

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Dec 03 2019

World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

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The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual contest held in Petaluma, California, as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, to decide which of the dogs entered in the contest is the ugliest. The contest, along with the rest of the fair, is typically scheduled for the fourth week of June. Along with the title of “The World’s Ugliest Dog”, the winner’s owner receives a check for $1,000 and a trophy. As of 2017, the prize has been increased to $1,500, a trophy and a free trip to New York City. There is significant media coverage, and as many as 2,000-3,000 people attend the contest during the fair each year. The fair now holds an all-day Dog Lovers’ Festival preceding the evening contest.

The contest has been going on since the 1970s. In 2009 the Sonoma-Marin Fair trademarked the phrase World’s Ugliest Dog. In 2013, the contest celebrated its 25th anniversary as a fair-produced event, and an anniversary book, World’s Ugliest Dogs, was published with text by the contest’s producer of seven years, Vicki DeArmon, and photos by photographers who have covered the contest over the years for the fair.

Dogs generally come from across the United States but are welcome to enter from around the world. In contrast to conformation shows (which are restricted to purebreds), the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has separate divisions for pedigreed dogs and mutts, with the two winners then competing for the overall prize, and contestants are not judged against any breed specification.

Dog owners must provide documentation of veterinarian checks to determine the competing animal is healthy. The Sonoma-Marin Fair has also partnered with animal rights groups such as the Sonoma County Humane Society to educate the public about animals and to provide opportunities to adopt rescue dogs. The fair issues a photo of the winner, a press release summing up the contest, and YouTube video within hours of the contest conclusion. Contestants for each new year are featured on the website before the contest as well in the World’s Ugliest Dog Voting Gallery.

Contest winners are recorded since 1976, and include Boomer, a French mastiff, in 1996.

Nana, the contest winner for three years between 1996 and 2001 and a previous winner of the mutt division, was a three-pound chihuahua mix with a sidelong walk. She appeared on the cover of a RatDog album and twice on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She died in 2001.

Rascal, a 7 lb. Chinese Crested owned by actor Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, California, won the coveted title in 2002 and is now in “The Ring of Champions”. Rascal has gone on to set history winning the 2008 Oldest Ugly Dog Contest in Fort Bragg, the Tim Downs Ugly Dog Contest in 2008, the 2009 Ugly Dog Contest first place in Highland, and the 2009 Regal Cinemas “Hotel For Dogs” Ugly Dog Contest in Florida. As of June 2010, he has won ten Ugly Dog contests. Rascal was so ugly that Jay Leno put him on The Tonight Show before he had ever even won, and now he has been cast in four horror movies, seen on The View, Last Call with Carson Daly, and The Insider. He was featured in People magazine, Hello, Star, and has his own leash line, cartoon strip, and documentary, the proceeds of which go to animal charities.

Rascal is a direct descendant of Chi Chi, who won more World’s Ugliest Dog titles than any other dog in history, putting him in the Guinness Book of World Records with 8 wins.

Sam, a blind Chinese Crested dog from Santa Barbara, California, was voted the world’s ugliest dog three times in a row, from 2003 through 2005. He died in November 2005, bringing an end to his three-year reign.

Scandal erupted during the 2006 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest when an as yet unidentified person gained unauthorized electronic access to the contest’s internet voting page and deleted 40,000 votes from then leader “Pee Wee”, son of “Sam”, and 30,000 votes from second-place “Victoria”, according to marketing director Vicki DeArmon. To rectify the situation, fair officials decided to completely restart internet voting on May 22, 2006. The official winner, Archie, was selected by a panel of judges on June 23, 2006.
Archie died July 2008.

The winner of the 2007 World’s Ugliest Dog competition was a Chinese Crested-chihuahua mixed-breed dog named Elwood, who had placed second the previous year. Rascal, who won the 2002 title, became the Ugliest Dog on the West Coast. With the loss of Archie and Elwood, Rascal is the only dog alive to be “Ring of Champions” World’s Ugliest Dog. Most of the competitors in the competition were also Chinese Crested, because the breed can exhibit exaggerated traits like a mohawk, bug eyes, and a long, wagging tongue. Elwood died at the age of 8 on November 28, 2013.

The 2008 World’s Ugliest Dog competition was won by a Chinese Crested dog named Gus. Eleven dogs took part in the competition.

Rascal, the 2002 World’s Ugliest Dog and Ring of Champions holder, won the World’s Oldest Ugly Dog Contest in Fort Bragg, California on August 30, 2008, making him the only dog to win both top titles.

On November 10, 2008, Gus died. He was 9 years old. Runner up Rascal The 2002 World’s Ugliest Dog finished the year as the acting current World’s Ugliest Dog making Rascal both the 2002 & 2008 World’s Ugliest Dog title holder and even represented the Contest and Fair officially as the World’s Ugliest Dog in the Petaluma Butter and Eggs parade.
Official Rascal Site: www.TheWorldsUgliestDog.com

Pabst, a boxer mix owned by Miles Egstad of Citrus Heights, California, won the 2009 World’s Ugliest Dog competition; Miss Ellie, a blind 16-year-old Chinese Crested Hairless, won in the pedigree category; Pabst beat her in a run-off for the overall title.

Miss Ellie died June 1, 2010, at the age of 17.

Princess Abby, a chihuahua with “a hunched and peculiar walk due to that her back legs are longer than her front (which allows her to have moments of bipedalism), a missing eye, and mismatched ears”, won the 2010 contest out of a field of 25 dogs. Despite being a rescue dog, she was entered in the pedigree division.

Yoda, a previously abandoned 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix with a malformed nose, “short tufts of hair, protruding tongue, and long, seemingly hairless legs”, won the 2011 contest. The dog is from Hanford, California, and is owned by dog groomer Terry Schumacher.

Yoda died in her sleep at her home in Hanford, California on March 10, 2012. She was 15.

The 2012 winner is Mugly, an 8-year-old Chinese Crested with a short snout, beady eyes, and several unkempt white whiskers, owned by Bev Nicholson of Peterborough, England. Mugly was the first dog from outside the United States to win.

In 2013 Walle, a four-year-old “huge-headed, duck-footed mix of beagle, boxer and basset hound” from Chico, California beat 29 other contenders to win the contest. The dog’s owner, Tammie Barbee, entered the dog into the contest at the last minute.

The 2014 contest was won by Peanut (alternately named Opossum), a 2-year-old mutt believed to be a mix of Chihuahua and Shih Tzu. Peanut is owned by Holly Chandler of Greenville, North Carolina. In contrast to most of the contestants, Peanut’s physical deformities, which include deformed lips and eyelids (which give the dog the appearance of a perpetual growl) and significant loss of hair, were a result of being abused as a puppy; Chandler rescued the dog from an animal hospital.

Quasi Modo, a 10-year-old mutt with Dutch Shepherd and pit bull lineage, won the 2015 contest, narrowly beating two Chinese Crested/Chihuahua mixes. Quasi Modo was noted for its shortened frame, hunched back and long legs relative to its body, leading to confusion at first glance as to whether it was a dog or a hyena, according to the dog’s biography. The dog’s unnamed owner is from Loxahatchee, Florida and rescued the dog from a shelter.

The winner of the 2016 contest was SweePee Rambo, a Chinese Crested from Van Nuys, California.

Martha, a 3-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff owned by Shirley Dawn Zindler of Sebastopol, California, won the 2017 contest. Weighing in at 125 pounds and having extremely loose and droopy jowls, the once-blind rescue dog was particularly noted for her uncooperative personality, being described as a “snoring, gassy” dog that refused to show off for the crowd, bosses around other dogs in her company, slobbers all over human guests, and knocks over water buckets.

The 2018 contest was won by Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog with a particularly wide-legged stance, underbite, & very long droopy tongue.

2018 was the first year to award the People’s Choice Award, based solely on the online voting results.[citation needed] The winner was Himisaboo, a 12-year-old Chinese Crested Dachshund mix from Oregon.[citation needed] Himisaboo is a press favorite each year and is known as the Trump Dog because of his natural strawberry blonde combover.[citation needed]

Scamp the Tramp, a mutt with unkempt hair that grows into dreadlocks and stubby legs and who was rescued from the streets in Compton, California, won the 2019 contest; his owner, Yvonne Morales, also owned Nana when she won the contest.

The People’s Choice award went to Meatloaf, a bulldog with protruding teeth from Sacramento, California.

Animal Planet has sponsored the event and broadcast the show on television for several years. In the 2009 contest, the event included celebrity judges such as Jon Provost (“Timmy” on the 1950s television show Lassie) as well as an Ugly is the New Beautiful Fashion Show featuring models and adoptable rescue dogs. Hosts rotate each year. In 2013, syndicated radio hosts Bob & Sheri hosted the show.

In 2011, the contest was the subject of an hour-long indie documentary entitled Worst in Show, produced by Don Lewis and John Beck.

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Dec 03 2019

Sergey Kovalev (boxer)

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Sergey Alexandrovich Kovalev (Russian: SERGEI ALEKSANDROVIC KOVALEV; born 2 April 1983) is a Russian professional boxer. He has held multiple light heavyweight world championships, including the WBA (Super) and IBF titles from 2014 to 2016, and the WBO title three times between 2013 and 2019.

As of November 2019, Kovalev is ranked as the world’s second best active light heavyweight by The Ring magazine, third by BoxRec and fourth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. In 2014, The Ring named him their Fighter of the Year. Nicknamed the “Krusher”, Kovalev is particularly known for his exceptional punching power.

Kovalev started boxing in 1994 at age 11, and made his amateur debut in 1997 in the Russian Boxing Junior Championship, where he won the gold medal in the middleweight juniors division. One year later he competed with the seniors and reached the final, and a year after that, he won the final fight. For Team Russia, he competed in the European Championships.

In 2004, Kovalev for the first time took part in the Russian Senior Championship, and in his first season, he reached the final and also won the golden medal in the team event. The next year was the most successful in his career as an amateur in winning two titles: the first as champion of Russia and the second as champion among servicemen. In the 2006 championship for servicemen, he won the silver, and a year later, he took bronze in the Russian Championship and gold in the World Military Games in India.

In 2008, Kovalev took part in his final national competition and again made the final; after that, he decided to turn professional. As he once admitted, he had to leave the national team because of the extremely tense competition between him and more successful boxers such as Artur Beterbiev. He finished his amateur career with a record of 195-18.

Kovalev started his career with a first-round KO of Daniel Chavez at Greenboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. He won his first nine fights with first- or second-round knockout. He faced more serious competition against Darnell Boone in October 2010, when he had to fight all eight rounds, and was dropped en route to a split decision win.

In July 2011, Kovalev won his first NABA belt in a 10-round fight with Douglas Otieno from Kenya. The Russian’s next bout against Grover Young was controversial, however, as in the second round, Kovalev threw a left hook to the head, but the judges suggested that it was a blow to the back of the head — an unintentional infringement. As the American could not continue, the fight was declared a technical draw.

In his 2011 fight against Roman Simakov of Russia, Kovalev knocked down his opponent in the sixth round and the fight was stopped one round later and Kovalev was awarded a TKO victory. Simakov was taken to the hospital, where he lapsed into a coma and died three days later.

In 2012, Kovalev begun being trained by John David Jackson. He knocked out Darnell Boone in two rounds in a rematch, demonstrating his improvement as a fighter since their last meeting and leading him to be signed to Main Events boxing.

On 19 January 2013, Kovalev faced the former WBA light heavyweight champion Gabriel Campillo. Kovalev was able to get to the usually elusive Campillo early and often, continually backing him up in the opening round with furious combinations. Campillo, known as a slow starter who looked sluggish throughout the fight, was hurt early in the third round and staggered into the corner. The native of Spain covered up before being dropped with a left hook from Kovalev, one of three knockdowns in the round.

On 17 August 2013 Kovalev fought Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light heavyweight title. Cleverly, as champion, was given the underdog status by bookmakers. The official press conference took place on 9 July. Kovalev, who knocked out most of his opponents within three rounds, came out throwing heavy shots in the first round, hurt Cleverly badly in the third round, dropping him twice and nearly finishing him off. Kovalev picked things right back up in the fourth, throwing bombs to send Cleverly down for a third time and the referee waved things off. This was the first time Cleverly had been knocked down as a professional.

On 30 November 2013, Kovalev had his first defense of the WBO light heavyweight title against #15 WBO Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17 KO’s). The fight took place on the undercard of Adonis Stevenson’s WBC title defence against Brit Tony Bellew at the Colisee de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada. Kovalev found the timing early in round two and in the same round finished Sillakh with a huge left. Sillakh beat the count, but visibly hurt. Kovalev immediately pounced on Sillakh, flooring him a second time, ending the fight. The fight averaged 1.25 million viewers on HBO.

Main Events announced on 11 February 2014, that Kovalev would make his second defence against undefeated contender Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) on 29 March at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Although Agnew was not known to many boxing fans at the time, he held victories over Yusaf Mack, Daniel Judah and Otis Griffin. The fight drew a near sell-out of 2,416 fans. Agnew’s movement gave Kovalev difficulty at times, and he found himself unable to land the concussive shots for which he was known. Agnew however, simply fought to survive and committed very little to his own offense. Ultimately in the seventh round, Kovalev landed a vicious jab to Agnew’s liver that put him down for the count. En route to the finish, Agnew was dropped three times. It was a conclusion many expected, although Kovalev was cut around both eyes and was forced to go past the fourth round for the first time in seven fights, dating back to 2011. After the fight, Kovalev, like most interviews, was asked about Stevenson, he replied, “I don’t want to speak on Adonis Stevenson. Adonis Stevenson is a piece of s—. Oh, sorry for my English. He ran from me. I don’t worry. I will have another opponent. I didn’t think about Adonis at all.” The fight drew 1,006,000 viewers on HBO and peaked at 1,048,000 viewers. Although the figures were down from Kovalev vs. Sillakh bout, this fight went head to head with Wisconsin edging Arizona, 64-63 to reach the Final Four of the NCAA’s college basketball tournament. The match went on to be the largest ever for a college basketball game on cable television at the time with an average 9.9 million viewers.

On 14 June 2014, it was announced that Kovalev would defend his WBO title a third time, this time against undefeated Australian contender Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs). Kovalev was looking to land a unification fight against WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, but Stevenson stated he would only fight on Showtime. Since Kovalev was contracted to HBO, he had to settle with an over matched Caparello. The bout was scheduled to take place on 2 August, at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey and televised on HBO: Boxing After Dark. There was an attendance of 1,603 fans at the Ovation Hall. Caparello started well, scoring a flash knockdown after catching Kovalev with a solid shot while Kovalev was off balance. Kovalev however was unhurt and even appeared enraged, thoroughly dominating Caparello en route to a second-round technical knockout. The win guaranteed Kovalev would fight 49-year-old unified champion Bernard Hopkins in the fall of 2014. Main Events Kathy Duva believed there was a loss of focus and pressure built up as to why Kovalev was dropped. Kovalev shrugged of any claims that he felt pressure, “I didn’t think about Bernard Hopkins tonight. I was focused on this fight. It is very important. A big step for me. If I do not win the fight there is no fight with Bernard Hopkins.” Lou DiBella, promoter of Caparello, also praised Kovalev, in particularly the body shot that ended the fight. Negotiations already began for the Hopkins fight, prior to the Caparello fight. The fight was watched by an average 990,000 viewers and peaked at 1.052 million.

On 22 August 2014, it was confirmed that a fight between Kovalev and 49 year old Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) would take place on 8 November 2014, in a unification bout at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Barclays Center was also discussed as a potential venue. The fight was televised on HBO World Championship Boxing. In front of 8,545, Kovalev defeated Hopkins by unanimous decision to retain the WBO light heavyweight title and win the WBA (Super) and IBF titles. In a one-sided fight, Kovalev knocked Hopkins down in the first round. Kovalev won every single round on all of the three judges’ scorecards. The score totals of the fight were 120-107, 120-107, and 120-106. In the fight, Hopkins only landed just 65 of 196 punches (33%), whilst Kovalev, the much busier fighter landed 166 of 585 punches thrown (28%). In round 12, Kovalev landed 38 punches on Hopkins, the most any boxer had ever landed on him in a single round in his 41 fights recorded by Compubox Stats. Hopkins earned a base purse of $1 million whilst Kovalev earned $500,000. Kovalev said after the fight, “I’m very happy. This victory was for my son Aleksandr.” Aleksandr was Kovalev’s first child, born on 20 October, whilst Kovalev was in training for the fight and had not yet seen him. The fight was considered a hit as it was watched by an average 1.328 million viewers.

It was announced on 23 December 2014, that Kovalev would defend his world titles and fight Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) on March 14, 2015 for WBC Diamond light heavyweight title at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada live on HBO. Kovalev had just been named Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Fighter of the Year. Kovalev started the fight off aggressively as usual and took control of the fight earlier and eventually knocked Pascal down in the 3rd round. Pascal began to fight back and showed some signs of life in rounds 5 and 6, although Kovalev gained control of the fight again and began to hit Pascal with huge shots, wobbling him and in the 8th round the referee stopped the fight as he felt Pascal had taken too much punishment. Pascal felt the stoppage was unfair and demanded for a rematch. At the time of stoppage, Kovalev was leading 68-64 on all three judges’ scorecards. CompuBox stats showed Kovalev landed 122 of 471 punches (26%) and Pascal connected on 68 of 200 (34%). The fight averaged 1.152 million viewers on HBO.

Before the Pascal fight, Kovalev knew his next fight would be against 30 year old French boxer Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs), as he became the IBF mandatory challenger by knocking out Anatoliy Dudchenko in June 2014. Mohammedi was on a 13 fight win streak at the time. The fight took place on 25 July 2015, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Kovalev steamrolled the over matched Mohammedi, knocking him down once in the second round and one more time in the third round. The second knockdown ended Mohammedi’s night and gave Kovalev his 25th knockout victory. Kovalev said in the post-fight interview, “I wanted more rounds. I wanted him to look like a clown. I wanted him to look foolish. I’m very happy that I got the victory,” Kovalev said. “I gave my best. I am happy. I told him to stand up. It was a short show. People didn’t see boxing.” Abel Sanchez, trainer of Mohammedi believed his boxer was overwhelmed with being on the main event and having lots of pressure on him. Kovalev earned $750,000 and Mohammedi earned a career-high $270,000 purse. Kovalev landed 67 of 170 punches thrown (39%) and Mohammedi did little damage in landing 17 of 96 thrown (18%). The fight was seen by just over 1 million viewers on HBO.

Promoter Duva stated that Kovalev would be looking for a homecoming bout next, likely on 28 November in Moscow. She stated she would call promoter Yvon Michel in order to set up a fight with two-time Olympian Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs), who defeated Kovalev in the amateurs. The fight unlikely to happen as Beterbiev was advised by Al Haymon, and performed on Premier Boxing Champions, who were banned by HBO. Another possibility was a rematch with Jean Pascal.

On 5 December 2015, it was announced that the rematch between Kovalev and Pascal was set, to take place on 30 January 2016, at the Bell Centre in Montreal on HBO. Pascal was pumped for the rematch stating it would turn out differently to the first fight, “I put him down in the eighth round in the first fight, but [the referee] called it a slip. But I promise you that Kovalev is going to have a full plate in the rematch. I’m going to have a full plate as well, but I have a new trainer [Hall of Famer Freddie Roach]. I’m going to teach him respect and to respect Canadian boxing fans.”

In front of 9,866, Kovalev dominated the fight, both outpunching and outlanding Pascal by wide margins. Kovalev won when Pascal’s trainer Freddie Roach refused to let his fighter continue after the seventh round. At the time of stoppage, the scorecards read 70-62 three times, in favour of Kovalev. Round 5 was scored 10-8 on all three judges cards without there having been a knockdown. Kovalev landed 31 of 73 punches in round 5 alone. After the round, Roach threatened to pull Pascal. According to compubox stats, Kovalev landed 165 of 412 punches (40%) and Pascal landed 30 of 108 blows (28%).

After the fight, Kovalev said his future plans would likely include a fight with former super middleweight champion Andre Ward, but he first wanted a unification bout with reigning WBC and recognized lineal champion Adonis Stevenson. Kovalev, who has been desiring this fight for some time but has not been able to get it, called Stevenson “Adonis Chickenson” during the post-fight interview. Stevenson, who was in attendance, responded by confronting Kovalev in the ring surrounded by three bodyguards. The fight averaged 1.179 million viewers on HBO and peaked at 1.269 million viewers.

It was announced on 23 April 2016, that Kovalev would have a warm-up fight on 11 July, against 28-year-old Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) in Ekaterinburg, Russia at the Palace of Sports. This was the first time in five years that Kovalev would return to Russia for a fight and defend his WBA (Super), IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles. Chilemba was known for having a similar style to Andre Ward, who Kovalev would meet in the Fall in a big fight. Kovalev tipped the scales at 174.6lbs, while Chilemba weighed in at 174.8lbs. Kovalev earned a unanimous points decision after a hard-earned battle. Kovalev was forced to go the distance for just the fourth time in his career, as Chilemba recovered from a seventh round knockdown but ultimately lost on points. The three judges at ringside scored the fight 117-110, 116-111 and 118-109 at the end of 12 rounds in favour of Kovalev, who retained his titles. In round 7, Chilemba staggered across the ropes and was down following a straight left with a right to the jaw. The fight aired live in the afternoon on HBO and averaged 355,000 viewers.

It was announced on 16 June 2016, that a contract had been signed between Kovalev and undefeated former super middleweight world champion Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on 19 November 2016. Both fighters remained undefeated through interim bouts. This fight marked Ward’s first time fighting in Las Vegas.

Kovalev lost a closely contested controversial decision with the judges all scoring the fight 114-113 in favor of Ward. Larry Merchant stated after the fight, “It was a classic hometown decision, Kovalev won the fight!” Gareth Davies, boxing correspondent gave the fight to Kovalev with 115-112, as did Max Kellerman. Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, said, “We got a great fight, which is what boxing needed. But we also got a bad decision, which is not what boxing needed.” Still, many boxing experts have applauded the decision. Paulie Malignaggi noted the high degree of difficulty both fighters faced that night and doubted the prospect of a one-sided affair in the case of a rematch. Still, he concluded that Kovalev faded late in the fight. Promoter Eddie Hearn added that Kovalev lacked a sense of urgency after the halfway point. Gennady Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, noticed how Kovalev allowed Ward on the inside and as a result wore down. For the fight, Kovalev received a minimum purse of $2 million and Ward’s purse was a career-high $5 million. CompuBox stats showed that Kovalev landed 126 of 474 punches (27%); Ward landed 116 out of 337 thrown (34%).

The fight reported to have done 160,000 buys on HBO PPV. A replay was shown on HBO prior to the Lomachenko-Walters title fight, which averaged 834,000 viewers. The event produced a live gate of $3.3 million from 10,066 tickets sold, including complimentary tickets, the full attendance was announced as 13,310. The venue was set up to hold 14,227.

Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas announced that negotiations had begun for the rematch between Ward and Kovalev. According to the NSAC, The T-Mobile Arena was put on hold for 17 June 2017, on HBO PPV. On 24 March 2017, Kovalev revealed via Social Media that he had signed his end of the deal. It was also noted that the rematch would take place at the Mandalay Bay in Paradise, Nevada on HBO PPV. On 4 April, Roc Nation Sports and Main Events confirmed that terms were agreed for the rematch to take place on HBO PPV. The fight is being billed as “No Excuses”. The Las Vegas Sun confirmed the bout will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. On 10 April, Kathy Duva said that there would be no rematch clause in place for a third fight, meaning the winner would not be obliged to fight another rematch. The fight purses were revealed before the fight with Ward taking a guaranteed $6.5 million and Kovalev, not having a base purse, would receive a percentage of PPV and gate revenue.

In front of 10,592, The fight ended in the 8th round with a victory for Ward once again. A big right hand from Ward had Kovalev in trouble which was followed by a series of body shots. There was split opinion over whether they were low blows or borderline legal punches. Nonetheless, with Kovalev slumped over on the ropes, the referee Tony Weeks had no choice but to stop the fight. At the time of stoppage, two judges had Ward ahead 67-66, whilst the third judge had it 68-65 in favour of Kovalev. CompuBox stats showed that Ward landed 80 of 238 punches (34%) whilst Kovalev landed 95 of his 407 thrown (23%).

Ward praised Kovalev in the post-fight interview, “He’s a good fighter, and I have nothing but respect for him. First time around, the man is world champion, and he’s been on top a long time. I give him credit. He is a great fighter, and when you fight great fighters, you have to raise your game.” Kovalev said the fight could have continued, “I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Not every round, but I thought I was doing very good. I was better, and he was better this fight. I didn’t feel like I was getting knocked down with his punches — I could have continued,” Kovalev said. “I didn’t feel the punch. This is fighting. We are boxers. Yes, he did punch me, but he didn’t hurt me. The fight should have continued.”

According to Yahoo Sports, the fight only generated around 130,000 buys on HBO PPV. The replay was shown on regular HBO averaging 752,000 viewers and peaked at 947,000, which was during the final round. The event produced a live gate of $2,187,340 from 6,366 tickets sold, including complimentary tickets, the full attendance was announced as 10,592. The venue was set up to hold 10,748.

Kovalev spoke to reporters in Russia on 27 June 2017, and confirmed that he would be making changes to his team. This included a new head trainer, meaning he would part ways with John David Jackson and a new specialist. Due to him having issues making the light heavyweight limit, he was considering moving up to cruiserweight. Reports also suggested that Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter offered his services to Kovalev. On 26 October, Kovalev announced the experienced Abror Tursunpulatov as his new trainer. Tursunpulatov was most known for training and developing amateurs, such as 2016 Rio Olympic Gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.

On 9 September 2017 HBO announced that Kovalev would make his ring return on HBO: Boxing After Dark on 25 November. His opponent was announced as 30 year old light heavyweight contender Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout, to take place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Shabranskyy’s only loss came in December 2016 via TKO against Cuban boxer Sullivan Barrera. Kovalev spoke about his consecutive defeats, “I learned a lot from my fights with Andre Ward. When you don’t win and when you suffer adversity, it makes you stronger. It also shows you who your real friends are. I feel like I cleaned out my life and now I’m ready to start fresh. I’m very excited to get back in the ring, and fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time, and I’m focused on the future. I’m not looking back.” Kovalev told Ringtv that he would not had a lead trainer for the fight. On 12 October, Main Events asked the WBO to sanction the fight for their vacant title, following Andre Ward’s retirement from boxing. At the time, Shabranskyy was not ranked by WBO in their top 15. On 26 October, WBO decided to sanction the fight, also meaning the fight now be a 12-round bout. On 15 November, the International Boxing Association announced that they would be sanctioning the fight for their vacant light heavyweight title. The IBA title was last held by Beibut Shumenov, until he lost to Bernard Hopkins in April 2014. Due to Hopkins not paying their sanctioning fees, the title remained vacant.

In front of a small crowd of 3,307 at the Theater, Kovalev regained the WBO title after stopping Shabranskyy in round two. Kovalev knocked Shabranskyy down three times in total in the fight before it was stopped. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:36 of the round. Shabranskyy barely made it out of the first round after being knocked down twice from Kovalev’s right hand. After being knocked down again in round two and being backed against the ropes, Kovalev started to unload a series of power shots before referee Harvey Dock stepped in. Speaking to Max Kellerman of HBO, Kovalev said, “I did it. I worked really hard. Mentally, physically, I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in the division. Last fight I was stopped, it was a decision by the referee. Here tonight was great boxing for me and I love boxing and I am here to make great fights.” He also went on to say that he would like unification fights going forward. CompuBox showed that Kovalev landed 50 of 113 punches (44%), this included 25 of 36 power shots in round two and Shabranskyy landed 16 of 71 thrown (23%). According to Nielsen Media Research, the fight averaged 869,000 viewers, peaking at 900,000 viewers.

Immediately after defeating Shabranskyy, Kovalev stated that he would return to The Theater on 3 March 2018. He was hoping to land a unification fight with belt holders Artur Beterbiev (IBF), Dmitry Bivol (WBA) and Adonis Stevenson (WBC), however a more likely fight would be Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs), who after being dropped, defeated Felix Valera via unanimous decision on the Kovalev-Shabranskyy undercard. Duva stated the negotiations would commence a week later. WBA ordered Bivol to make a mandatory defence against Barrera before 30 April 2018, and although Barrera had agreed a purse for that fight, a fight with Kovalev would be more appealing and land him a bigger purse. On 18 December, ESPN reported a deal was close to being made for Kovalev to make a defence of his WBO title against IBO titleholder Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), who was on a 10-fight win streak. The fight was expected to take place on 3 March 2018, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on HBO. Initially, Mikhalkin was in talks with contender Marcus Browne for a final eliminator. Main Events stated that Barrera declined the fight with Kovalev, however is likely to challenge WBA champion Bivol on the same card. Kovalev retained his world title, defeating Mikhalkin via TKO in round 7. The fight was one sided from the opening bell with Mikhalkin hardly letting his hands go. Mikhalkin was hurt following a right hand in round 2. Kovalev kept the pressure up until the bout was stopped due to Mikhalkin bleeding and taking a lot of punishment. After the fight, Kovalev said, “This was better work for me than my last fight. It may have looked easy but it was not easy tonight.” According to CompuBox, Kovalev landed 186 of 525 punches (35%) and Mikhalkin landed 43 of his 275 thrown (16%). The fight averaged 599,000 viewers and peaked at 674,000 viewers.

On 6 March, Kathy Duva announced that Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol would return to The Theater at Madison Square Garden in July 2018 on HBO as part of the plan to have them fight three times in 2018. On 13 March, The Ring reported that rising contender Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) would likely challenge for his first world title against either Kovalev for the WBO title or IBF beltholder Artur Beterbiev, where he was in a mandatory position. On 18 March, a deal had been agreed for Kovalev to defend his WBO title against Browne at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on HBO. A date as early as 23 June was discussed but not finalized. On 6 April, it was reported that Browne had been arrested for domestic violence, marking it the second time in four months he had been arrested. On 18 April, Kovalev announced he would instead fight longtime WBC mandatory Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) in the summer of 2018. Yvon Michel, promoter of both Alvarez and Adonis Stevenson, was unable to come up with an agreement for a step aside fee for Alvarez to allow Stevenson to fight Badou Jack in May 2018. Alvarez’s manager Stephane Lepine then contacted Main Events for a possible fight. It was announced the fight would take place on 4 August, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In front of a sold-out crowd of 5,642 at the Estess Aena, Alvarez won the fight via TKO in round 7 to claim the WBO title. Kovalev was knocked down three times in round 7 before the fight was stopped. The official time of stoppage was 2 minutes and 45 seconds. For the first six rounds, Kovalev was in control using his jab and landing his right hand.At the end on round 6, he was leading on the scorecards 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56. Alvarez bided his time waiting to the midpoint of the contest before opening up. He explained that part of the gameplan was to wait for Kovalev to tire. Alvarez first dropped Kovalev with a clean right hand to the head. Kovalev got up, but looked unsteady. Instead of trying to finish the round, he stayed open allowing Alvarez to land jabs and a perfectly timed uppercut. Kovalev was dropped again with a combination of punches. After beating the count again, Alvarez charged forward landing another left-right combination, putting Kovalev down again. Referee David Fields stopped the fight.

After the fight, Duva confirmed there was a rematch clause in the contract, however was unsure if the rematch would take place straight away. Kovalev was taken to hospital as precaution, thanked his fans for their support and hinted retirement. Through a translator, Alvarez said, “Words cannot describe how I feel. I want to thank God and all my fans in Canada and Colombia. This was all for them. It was a two-punch combination [for the final knockdown] that I have been throwing my whole career, and we worked on it in camp. I have always practiced that in camp, and we thought it would work in this camp.” CompuBox Stats showed that Kovalev landed 91 punches of 339 thrown (27%) and Alvarez landed 73 of his 251 thrown (29%). The fight averaged 731,000 viewers and peaked at 813,000 viewers.

On 25 August, Kovalev said he would exercise the rematch clause. According to the contract, the fight would have had to take place by February 2019. Early talks indicated the rematch would take place in December 2018. A stumbling block appeared when HBO confirmed they were not fully committed to airing a rematch between the two fighters. Duva stated at any point competing networks could bid on the bout, but all HBO would need to do was match the highest bid to broadcast the fight. In September 2018, Duva stated the bout would likely take place towards the end of January 2019 on the East Coast, as it would be a good distance for Canadian fans to drive to. On 14 September, it was announced that ESPN would broadcast the rematch. A week later it was announced the fight would take place on 2 February 2019, at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, best known for being the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility. Kovalev was working with his new trainer Buddy McGirt for the bout, ending his 3-fight run with Abror Tursunpulatov. The first press conference took place on 8 December 2018, officially starting the build up for the rematch.

In front of 4,877 fans at the Ford Center, Kovalev put on an incredible performance to regain the WBO title after defeating Alvarez by a 12 round unanimous decision and became a three-time light heavyweight titleholder. The judges scored it 120-108, 116-112 and 116-112 for Kovalev. The shutout scorecard seemed a exxagerated as Alvarez did do enough to win a few rounds. After round 1, Kovalev settled into the fight, he started using his jab and keeping Alvarez at range. Kovalev looked to tire in rounds 6, 7 and 8, but appeared to get his second wind in the championship rounds, pulling the fight out of reach for Alvarez. After round 10, Alvarez’s corner advised him he needed a knockout to win.

After the fight, Kathy Duva of Main Events said, “I’m thrilled. It’s sweeter when nobody thinks you can do it.” On the loss, Alvarez said, “I have no excuses. I know if it went the distance he would be the favorite so I tried to press the fight. I thought I put on a good performance. I don’t see myself as a loser, but I do give him credit. He went out and proved he wanted to win the fight.” Kovalev gave his training team credit, “This training camp I had help from my team, Buddy and Teddy. Thank you guys for this. They stopped me from overtraining. I saved my energy and I’m happy. We worked on the jab. Always my jab and right hand.” According to CompuBox statistics, Kovalev landed 213 of 816 punches (26%) and Alvarez connected with 111 of his 369 shots (30%).

On 24 August 2019, Kovalev faced off against mandatory WBO challenger, the hard-hitting, unbeaten British Anthony Yarde, who previously stopped 17 of his 18 opponents, with the bout taking place at Traktor Arena in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The bout began with Kovalev controlling the fight with his stiff and powerful jab, with Yarde having trouble to close the distance. By the middle rounds Kovalev built a major lead on the scorecards, prompting Yarde to become more aggressive. Yarde increased the pressure on Kovalev in round 7 and began to employ powerful body shots. In round 8 in a sudden dramatic fashion, Yarde seriously hurt Kovalev with several powerful shots. Yarde began to unload a barrage of punches on the staggering champion, who had to tie-up the challenger several times to survive. In Kovalev’s corner, trainer Buddy McGirt told Kovalev that he would stop the fight if he was hurt again. Kovalev went back to boxing in round 9, using his jab and reach to keep Yarde away. Yarde (who previously never fought past 7 rounds) began showing signs of fatigue. Kovalev increased his punch output in round 10, consistently landing hard left jabs and rights to Yarde’s head. Two-and-a-half minutes into the round Kovalev backed the challenger up against the ropes and landed multiple blows with Yarde only being saved by the bell. In round 11, Kovalev knocked out the fatigued Yarde with a straight left jab, ending the fight via TKO and retaining his WBO and ESP light heavywheight titles. According to CompuBox, Kovalev landed 223 of his 686 punches (32.5%) while Yarde landed 132 of his 575 punches (23%), the most punches any fighter has landed on Kovalev. After the fight, Kovalev praised Yarde for his toughness, saying that Yarde “will 100% percent become a world champion one day”.

On June 9, 2018, Kovalev was arrested in California for allegedly punching a woman in the face after she rejected his advances; the woman suffered a broken nose, a concussion, and a displaced disk in her neck. Kovalev was charged with assault likely to cause great bodily injury, a felony, to which he pleaded not guilty on August 27, 2018, and he was released on $50,000 bail. On April 4, 2019, Kovalev was “held to answer“ for felony assault causing great bodily injury, meaning that the Court found that there was enough evidence to proceed to trial on the felony charge. Kovalev was arraigned on April 19, 2019, and was due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on May 21, 2019, however, he didn’t show up. He also has been sued by the victim in San Bernardino County Superior Court for $8 million.

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