Bivol is boxing new superstar …defeats Canelo to retain title

Dmitry Bivol produced a performance of a lifetime as he inflicted a brutally one-sided defeat on boxing’s pound-for-pound best Canelo Alvarez on an historic night in Las Vegas on Sunday.

After bulldozing his way through the super-middleweight division – becoming undisputed champion last year – Canelo set himself another monumental challenge as he stepped up to light-heavyweight to take on WBA (Super) champion Bivol.

Bivol adjudged the winner after the event

But Canelo’s latest challenge proved a step too far, as Bivol danced his way to a unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the bout 115-113 in the Russian’s favour. Canelo had climbed to 175lb once before in his highly-decorated career, defeating Bivol’s Russian compatriot Sergey Kovalev in stunning fashion back in 2019.

But in Bivol, Canelo found himself against a legitimate light-heavyweight champion, one who remained undefeated as he moved to 20-0, as the Mexican suffered just the second defeat of his career, the first since Floyd Mayweather Jr beat him all the way back in 2013.

Canelo – who had a rematch clause in the fight contract – confirmed his intention to activate the option immediately after, with Bivol too insisting he wants to take on boxing’s biggest superstar once more.

It means the Mexican’s plans to square off against Gennady Golovkin for a third time are now perhaps on hold, with promoter Eddie Hearn previously stating a September showdown would only transpire should Canelo emerge victorious against Bivol. 

Both fighters took centre-ring as the first bell sounded, and though Canelo often starts slowly it was the Mexican who looked to take the early initiative, throwing in hooks as he attempted to break the high guard of Bivol.

And though scoring an uppercut – his best punch throughout – to see off the first round, it was immediately evident that this would be no easy feat, with Bivol’s significant height and reach advantage clear from the off.

Bivol upped the tempo in round two, quintessentially sticking behind the jab, one he expertly crafted throughout a stunning amateur career, with the swift-footed Russian maintaining the distance to stay out of range.

As the rounds progressed, it was Bivol who started to pin Canelo back, a rare sight inside the squared circle, hurting Canelo with a massive five-punch combination as he built a healthy lead come the midway point.

From round seven, Canelo was routinely dropping his hands in frustration, attempting to draw a stubborn Bivol in. The Russian – known for his discipline – stuck to his game plan, however, remaining composed throughout.

Canelo’s long-term trainer Eddy Reynoso instructed his fighter to ‘use your experience’ as the business end of the fight approached, but it was Bivol who looked the established champion, with the Mexican growing increasingly weary as the fight drew to a close.

Perhaps symbolically, the fight ended with Canelo pinned to the ropes – where he spent much of the evening – with Bivol out-landing the Mexican 152-84 throughout.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath, Bivol insisted he had proven himself to the masses following a dazzling display. He also apologised for ruining Canelo’s pre-fight plans. 

‘I’m sorry I broke your plans with Gennady Golovkin, maybe,’ he said. ‘Thank you Canelo and his team. He’s a great champion and I respect him. I respect all his team.

Canelo, meanwhile, insisted the rematch is next. ‘Of course I do,’ he said when asked if he wanted to go again. ‘This can’t end like this.’ –Mailonline

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