NEW YORK -- After Sergey Kovalev lost his light heavyweight world title to Eleider "Storm" Alvarez in upset fashion in August, he quickly exercised his contractual right to an immediate rematch.
Not long after that, Kovalev's promoter, Main Events, announced it had made a deal with Top Rank to have the fight headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card in early 2019, and on Saturday details of the event were outlined at a news conference at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden before the start of the evening's Top Rank Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza card.
Alvarez and Kovalev will meet again on Feb. 2 (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET, with the full card streaming on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET), the night before the Super Bowl, at the Ford Center at the Star -- the practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys -- in Frisco, Texas.
Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), 34, a Colombia native fighting out of Montreal, challenged Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) for his 175-pound world title on Aug. 4 and was trailing on all three scorecards -- 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56 -- when he rallied to knock Kovalev down three times in the seventh round for an upset knockout victory.
Kovalev said that he overtrained for the fight and was out of gas when he got knocked out.
"'The fact that Kovalev said it was a mistake and that I was lucky is motivation for me," Alvarez said. "He is a sore loser, and I will make sure there will be a second 'accident.' I expect Kovalev to be stronger in that second fight. I expect the best Kovalev because he won't underestimate me this time, but I am fully aware of this. I am able to be even better than in the last fight."
Kovalev, 35, a native of Russia fighting out of Los Angeles, had the contractual right to an immediate rematch and exercised that right, though HBO, his longtime television home, passed on the fight because it announced in September that its card on Saturday night in Carson, California, would be the last of its 45-year involvement in boxing. That paved the way for Main Events and Top Rank to make a deal.
Kovalev ended a three-fight stint with trainer Abror Tursunpulatov and is training now with Buddy McGirt, who was elected this week to the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his time as a junior welterweight and welterweight world titleholder. Kovalev said he picked McGirt to school him on defense.
"I will look to take back my title and put on a great show for the fans." Kovalev said. "Together with my new trainer, Buddy McGirt, I will be ready for Alvarez."