Bivol v Canelo Preview
By Donna Conley
Tonight, on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Las Vegas hosts Dmitry Bivol versus Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the WBA light-heavyweight title live and exclusively on DAZN.
Canelo (57-1-2) appears to be deemed the favourite to take the belt. However, this is no easy feat – the pound for pound king is coming up against a highly skilled, smart, and tactical boxer in Dmitry Bivol.
Canelo has previously fought once at light-heavyweight against Sergey Kovalev. Despite the move up in weight, Canelo moved around the ring with ease, breaking Kovalev down, and eventually ending the fight in the eleventh round via a more than impressive knockout. Although this was his only fight in the 175-pound division, he made it look like he had fought at that weight many times previously.
However, Kovalev allowed himself to be drawn into Canelo’s fight in the second half of the match, something that Bivol is unlikely to do. He is much too controlled and disciplined to fall into the same mistakes that Kovalev did. To play devils advocate, Bivol has also never been in a fight of this magnitude, so his mental strength will equally face a huge challenge.
Bivol boasts a record of 19 wins, with 11 of those coming by way of knockout. Although Canelo’s resume far outweighs that of Bivol’s, Bivol has a habit of winning with pure class and ease. He holds a constant distance that makes it hard for most to lay too many gloves on him and uses the fundamentals to forge his way to victory.
Both men command the ring making the fight a true and even battle despite the odds. If Bivol can stay in control of the centre of the ring, he should have every success to maintain his dominance, that being his distance and throw his infamous one/two’s throughout. However, if Canelo can stifle that key element of Bivol’s fight style and suffocate his space, he could very well be adding another belt to his record.
Canelo fights with pure pressure, stalks you down, holds an array of punches within his arsenal, and set a trap that people ponder over for weeks, wondering how they did not see it coming.
So, if Bivol is to do what most have not and see out the second half of the fight, he must remain fully concentrated, use his boxing intellect, and conserve his energy for the right moments, as he has done every time before. He must frustrate Canelo and use his undeniable talent of distance to allow punches that Canelo would otherwise land, go amiss to prevent the punishing break down, round after round.
This fight is intriguing in a multitude of ways – they say styles make fights and this is one that is both boxers get their tactics right, could go either way.
When it comes down to it, it is easy to understand the bias toward Canelo and why it doesn’t seem that hard to believe he will win. However, this is Bivol’s division, and the fight will be much closer than most imagine.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom