WEEKEND BOXING REWIND

Kovalev reinvents himself to reclaim title

Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand against Eleider Alvarez. (Photo courtesy of Top Rank Promotions.)

It was a night of redemption for Sergey Kovalev, as the light heavyweight claimed the World Boxing Organization belt for the third time in his career by defeating Eleider Alvarez by unanimous decision (120-108, 116-112 x2) Saturday in Frisco. SportsMap.com scored the bout 117-111 for Kovalev.

The fight was the first for Kovalev under new trainer Buddy McGirt. From the outset Kovalev (33-3, 28 KO) looked like a completely different fighter from each of his previous career fights. Instead of his usual all pressure style, the heavy handed Russian seemed happy to box with Alvarez (24-1, 12 KO,) landing three and four shot combinations, and getting out of the pocket and back to safety. Alvarez looked puzzled by Kovalev's new tactic throughout the fight. Kovalev outlanded Alvarez in 11 of 12 rounds finishing with 213 landed punches to Alvarez's 111.

The win sets up plenty of interesting potential fights for Kovalev, including the possibility of a unification bout with WBA light-heavyweight champion and fellow Russian countryman Dmitry Bivol. But Kovalev will need to get another win prior to any fight: he is due in court in March on felony assault charges.

LOPEZ PASSES TEST AGAINST MAGDALENO

Diego Magdaleno was supposed to be a big step in in competition for super-lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez. After the bout ended, it looked like Lopez could have stepped higher. Lopez (12-0, 10 KO) battered Magdaleno throughout the fight before closing the show with a brutal knockout in the seventh round.

The fight was marred by poor officiating and poor work from Magdaleno's corner. Magdaleno (31-2,13 KO) should have never been allowed to leave his corner for round seven; he had been bloodied and badly beaten and appeared to have no chance to stage a comeback. But Magdaleno's corner allowed him to continue and the 32-year old veteran was quickly knocked out after a pair of hooks dropped him to the canvas for good. Magdaleno's corner took exception to Lopez's celebration. Lopez completed a backflip in the center of the ring and home run swing celebration while Magdaleno continued to lay motionless on the canvas.

VALDEZ SHAKES OFF RING RUST IN KO OF TOMMASONE

Featherweight titleist Oscar Valdez made his return to the ring after an 11th month injury layoff, knocking out the overmatched Carmine Tommasone. Valdez (25-0, 20 KO) appeared to be rusty early in the fight, missing badly on looping hook attempts. But Valdez found a home for the power shots by round three, knocking down Tommasone (19-1, 5 KO) three times en route to a knockout victory.

Tommasone looked like a worthy opponent early in the fight, causing Valdez's early troubles with landing power shots. But once Valdez figured Tommasone out the fight was virtually over. Tommasone had no power behind his punches and pressed the issue, overpowering the featherfisted Tommasone.

The night wasn't all bad for Tommasone. Despite being knocked out just minutes prior, the 34 year old Italian national dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend during the post fight interview. She said yes, moving Tommasone's record to 1-1 on the evening.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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