Sergey Kovalev is “very anxious” to receive recognition in the Saul Alvarez fight and will use skill, not superior strength against ‘Canelo’, says trainer Buddy McGirt.

The WBO light-heavyweight champion defends his belt against the Mexican star, who is bidding to become a four-weight world-title holder, in Las Vegas on November 2.

Kovalev recently met with McGirt to discuss the upcoming clash with ‘Canelo’, and the renowned trainer says the Russian is extremely eager to pull off a career-defining win.

Canelo is one of the world's finest pound-for-pound fighters Canelo is one of the world's finest pound-for-pound fighters Canelo is one of the world’s finest pound-for-pound fighters

“I think that boxing needs a fight like this,” McGirt told Sky Sports. “Kovalev needs a challenge, Canelo, he’s beat everybody. I respect Canelo for what he’s doing, jumping up to 175. I really respect that, it shows a true champion, and I just think that it’s going to be a great night of boxing.

“He [Kovalev] is very anxious. After he lost to Ward and [Eleider] Alvarez there was a lot of negative stuff being said about him, so I think he’s out to prove the critics wrong.”

Asked if Kovalev wants to be acknowledged as one of the world’s elite, McGirt replied: “Yes, I believe so. He’s fought everybody they put in front of him, and I just think that he deserves it.

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Orgulloso de ser mexicano y representar estos colores ¡Viva México! 🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽

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“He kept the light-heavyweight division exciting when it wasn’t exciting.”

‘Canelo’ is pushing his own boundaries as he enters the highest weight class of his career, but McGirt says Kovalev will not be reliant on the size and power that overwhelmed Anthony Yarde in last month’s stoppage win.

“I’m not looking at us being the bigger, stronger guy. My goal is to be the better guy that night,” said McGirt. “His [Kovalev’s] boxing IQ is very underrated.