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Dmitry Bivol retains WBA light heavyweight title in Canelo Alvarez’s first loss in almost a decade

Bivol upsets, stuns Canelo

Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) remained undefeated and pulled the upset, beating by unanimous decision the four-division champion Canelo Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) on Saturday at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Russian underdog threw more punches than the Mexican superstar and was able to retain his WBA light heavyweight belt. 

All three judges scored the bout 115-113 for Bivol. The 31-year-old 6-foot Russian landed 152 of 710 power punches. 

Bivol stuns
May 7, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Career-low punches landed for Canelo

Canelo landed just 84 punches of 495, a career-low in a 12-round clash. His previous low was 117 in his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.. 

While Canelo threw and average of 41 punches and landed an average of 7 per round, his opponent averaged 59 and 13. 

Bivol landed 32 more power shots and 36 more jabs than Alvarez. 

Bivol shows his red arm

“He beat my arm up,” Bivol said on the ring after his win, showing how red his arm was.

Canelo
May 7, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Key for Bivol’s victory

The key for his victory? “He only threw hard punches and after hard punches he was a bit tired. Canelo is a good counter-puncher, but I made him be more forward and I was the counterpuncher today. It was the key.”

Canelo’s frustration

Bivol was able to outwork and outbox his opponent, who appeared tired and frustrated in the last few rounds.

In round 11 Canelo even lifted Bivol off the floor on his shoulder. Boxing fans joked: Was he looking for a body slam? Is it Dancing With the Stars?

Canelo frustrated lifts Bivol
May 7, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Bivol’s confidence

“If you don’t believe in yourself and what you can do, you will achieve nothing,” Bivol said. “I believed in myself. My team believed in me and you should believe in yourselves.” A mature and disciplined performance for the most important fight of his career. 

Canelo on the ropes a lot

Bivol had a size and reach advantage. He proved to have excellent boxing skills and pushed Canelo to the ropes a lot. When asked about it, Alvarez admitted that might have been a way to “rest a little bit”. 

“He’s a great champion,” he said. “Sometimes in boxing, you win and sometimes you lose. I have no excuses. He won the fight,” Canelo said after the fight. A few minutes later, his version of the story changed and he shrugged off the loss. 

Canelo’s version changes: I didn’t lose

“I feel really good. I think I didn’t lose this fight,” Alvarez stated in the post-fight presser.  He only won four or maximum five rounds. I got a big tired in the last rounds, but I did things the way I had to. I feel good. I don’t think I lost…Maybe the weight was a slight issue. It made me feel not 100% during the fight.’’

“I am looking for difficult fights, going up in weight. Not staying in my comfort zone at 168 lbs. I go up in weight to get new challenges, which is what I like and that’s how boxing is. I am looking for greatness.”

May 7, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Rematch? Canelo’s plans ruined

Admitting the biggest difficulty to face was Bivol’s style and not his weight, Canelo said he’d exercise his option for a rematch. 

The loss probably slammed the door on Alvarez’s plans for a trilogy bout vs. Gennadiy Golovkin in September. Also, going up even more in weight to face unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk seems highly unlikely at this point. 

“I’m sorry I ruined your plans [for a fall trilogy fight against] Gennadiy Golovkin, maybe,” Bivol said. “Congrats to [Alvarez], he’s a great champion and I respect him,” Bivol commented on the ring after his victory. 

Canelo faces questions

While Bivol has entered the Olympus of Greats, Canelo now faces some questions. After a majestic ring entrance, he was knocked off the pedestal of pound-for-pound king of boxing. He ruined the Cinco de Mayo weekend celebrations of thousands of Mexican fans, who were expecting nothing less than another win from one of the greatest Mexican boxers in history.

Will Canelo really benefit from taking this rematch?

Should he still face GGG?

Should he go down to his more comfortable weight class?

Is cleaning up another division completely out of the question at this point?

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: An informal chat with Saul Canelo Álvarez, living boxing legend

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