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  Bivol Stuns Canelo To Retain
His Light Heavyweight Belt

By William Trillo
Photos: German Villasenor


Like a Quarterback standing in the pocket and avoiding a heavy defensive rush Light Heavyweight Dmitrii Bivol (20-0, 11 KO’s) not only stood in there with Saul Canelo Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KO’s) but he did not get sacked. In fact, Bivol did what no one in the packed T-Mobile Arena was expecting, he ruined the Cinco May Festivities by defeating Canelo handily. The Matchroom promoted fight that was streamed by DAZN will surely go down as one of the biggest upsets in boxing this year.

The fight started as most fights do with the first round basically being a feeling out round that saw Canelo testing the range on his right hands. For his part Bivol was just getting his radar fine tuned.

As round two started it was clear that Bivol had no intention on fighting from long range. He was keeping what seemed to be a dangerously close distance considering he was in there with a fighter known to have serious concussive power. But Canelo was missing his uppercuts and not landing flush with anything.

In round three it was obvious there was a method to Bivols madness, and it was working. Combinations to the head of Canelo were landing and frustrating both Canelo and the crowd. They were not expecting this.

Round four saw an uncomfortable Canelo lay on the ropes while taking shots from Bivol. The punches from Bivol were not the type that had KO written on them, but what they were doing was tallying up points as Canelo looked confused and without an answer.

In round five Canelo had just taken more punishment on the ropes but when Bivol stepped back to recharge a frustrated Canelo tried to wave Bivol back in. But by now Bivol’s gameplan was set and he was not going to fall for Canelo’s trap. The bait was not taken.

Canelo literally did nothing in round six. Although Bivol was not pressing the attack hard he was doing a lot more that Canelo who was, as I said, doing nothing.

Now the craftiness of Bivol was plain to see in round seven and eight, even to the Pro-Canelo crowd. Canelo could not land a flush glove on him. It’s not that Bivol was running or staying out of range. He was right there, but when Canelo threw a punch Bivol would shift his feet or move his head and Canelo’s punches were rendered meaningless.

Canelo pressed hard in round nine, but even with that he just did not seem to be able to get any real offensive threat going. No matter how hard he was trying, Bivol had an answer to shut down Canelo’s charge.

If anyone was expecting Canelo to step up his game in the Championship rounds they were greatly disappointed. In fact, over the course of the final rounds Bivol put an exclamation point on what he was doing all night. He just kept touching Canelo with combination punches, keeping him off balance and unable to throw any blows that would change the course of the fight.

Bivol’s gameplan was a simple one but it worked to perfection. It’s highly doubtful he came into this fight looking for a Knockout, but he did come to win, and win he did.

Scores from all three judges were the same 115-113 x 3. Even the house full of Canelo fans could not argue with that. It was clear who was the better man on this night. With the victory Bivol retained his WBA Super World Light Heavyweight Title.

After the fight when asked about his upset victory he said, “I proved myself tonight by beating a great champion. I achieved what I wanted tonight, I climbed the mountain. You have to believe, because if you don’t believe you can do nothing.”

When asked if he thought he had frustrated Canelo he quipped, “Ask him!”

On a rematch Bivol said, “I want the rematch but this time I want to be treated like the champion!”

After the loss Canelo said, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. He is a good fighter, he uses his distance and moves in and out very well. Bivol is a great fighter.”

As to the rematch all Canelo said was, “Yes, I want it.”

Get ready for a September showdown.


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