On Saturday, Dmitry Bivol put Canelo Alvarez on the ropes and fired a six-punch combination, the majority of which landed flush.
The pound-for-pound king vulnerable and in serious peril was a rare sight. Throwing so many blows in a row against such a skilled counterpuncher is perilous, yet Bivol let his hands go during that round, and actually all night… and never suffered for it.
Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) was more than just too large for Alvarez; he was also too talented. His accurate punches, great footwork, and jab were much too much for Alvarez in his second 175-pound championship defence.
Perhaps most importantly, Bivol’s attitude won the battle.
Most of Alvarez’s opponents seem defeated before even stepping over the ropes, but the 31-year-old Russian exuded confidence throughout the fight week. The moment was never too large for him, and now he has a life-changing win, even if the judges tried to steal it from him.
“When I heard the scores of 115-113, I thought, ‘Maybe I lost today,’ but I feel I won,” Bivol said. “I expect that. Everything against me today.”
When one faces the sport’s biggest star, the deck is typically stacked against them. “No rules for him,” Bivol said.
ESPN scored the fight solidly in favour of Bivol, with many comparable scorecards from throughout the boxing world giving Bivol 118-110 or, at worst, 117-111.
The judges, however, gave Alvarez a clean sweep in the first four rounds. To avoid a tie and advance to a potential rematch, Bivol needed to win the 12th round on all three cards.
He stated that he intended to exercise his right to an instant rematch, although it’s unclear what changes he can make to solve the Bivol issue.
Mike Tyson has his say
Legendary boxer – Mike Tyson has told Canelo Alvarez he should have used his jab to neutralise the threat of Dmitry Bivol.
He posted a video on social media to demonstrate Alvarez’s need to slip Bivol’s jab to land his uppercut while using his own to neutralise the aggressive approach adopted by the Russian.
“If Canelo was using his jab effectively and hard, the guy wouldn’t have been able to come in because he was coming as he wasn’t worried about his jab,” Tyson said.
“He got more aggressive and brave, as he wasn’t jabbing he has no descent. If he’s not using the jab the guy is going to walk straight in on him like he did. Next fight use that jab and it is a different fight.” Tyson then proceeded to demonstrate a swift jab on the punchbag before unloading combinations on the bag.