The 29-year-old Alvarez is coming off a decision win over Daniel Jacobs in May. Kovalev defended his piece of the light heavyweight title Aug. 24 by stopping Anthony Yarde in Russia. Kovalev (34-3-1) is known as a big puncher with knockouts in 29 of his wins. But the 36-year-old Russian lost twice to Andre Ward and struggled at times against Yarde before stopping him in the 11th round.
Alvarez (52-1-2) is the biggest fighter and star from Mexico. His only defeat came in 2013, when he lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has held titles in three weight classes, beginning at 154 pounds.
"Canelo is to be praised for asking to challenge Sergey Kovalev," said Kathy Duva, who promotes Kovalev. "Win or lose, he will make history and Sergey is extremely pleased to get the chance to test his mettle against another future Hall of Famer."
The fight will be broadcast by the streaming service DAZN, which has a long-term deal with Alvarez.