Momentum is a funny thing. Canelo Alvarez has it. Based on the fact that he has not lost since the Floyd Mayweather fight in 2012, it can be seen that he is in a strong position in 2022. It’s not.
Since Alvarez’s rematch victory over Gennady Golovkin, he has been on a different level. Since his rematch with Plant, Sergey Kovalev, and Daniel Jacobs, no one has been able to beat him.
Alvarez might be facing the man with the best shot at it since Golovkin in 2018 (DAZN PPV, 8 PM EST).
Dmitry Bivol had momentum. Despite the fact he has never been considered a thriller, Bivol was developing an excellent resume.
He was one of the young guys HBO Boxing put some heat behind in the dying days, culminating in a one-sided win over former champion Jean Pascal. With a rout of current, then future, titlist Joe Smith Jr. in the early days of DAZN, the streak continued.
Bivol hasn’t changed much. But the quality of competition has. After taking the entire year off, Bivol has only fought three times since his March 2019 win over Smith.
They were fights he could have won in his sleep, and Bivol went about his work. Craig Richards’ fight was closer on the cards than in the ring. It’s easy to forget Bivol is out there, still no worse than the second-best at light heavyweight.
Saturday, in a terrific contest on paper, momentum could swing wildly.
Let’s get into it.
Dmitry Bivol vs. Canelo Alvarez Stats and Stakes
Titles: WBA Light Heavyweight (2017-Present, 8 Defenses)
Previous Titles: None
Weight: 174 ½ lbs.
Hails from: Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan
Record: 19-0, 11 KO
Press Rankings: #1 (TBRB), #2 (Ring, ESPN), #3 (BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 8-0, 3 KO (11-0, 4 KO including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 119-11-3 (.906)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB, and Ring Rated Foes: Sullivan Barrera TKO12; Joe Smith Jr. UD12
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Jean-Pascal UD12
Titles: Ring/WBC/WBA Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses); WBO Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); Lineal/TBRB/IBF Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)
Previous Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2011-13, 6 Defenses); Ring Jr. Middleweight (2013); WBC Middleweight (2015-16, 1 Defense); TBRB Middleweight (2015-17); WBO Jr. Middleweight (2016-17); Ring World Middleweight (2015-18, 2 Defenses); IBF Middleweight (2019); Lineal World Middleweight (2015-20, 4 Defenses); TBRB/Ring/WBC/WBA Middleweight (2018-Present, 1 Defense)
Weight: 174 ¼ lbs.
Hails from: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Record: 57-1-2, 39 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 17-1-1, 10 KO (18-1-1, 11 KO including WBA sub-title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 133-5-1 (.960)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and Ring Rated Foes: Ryan Rhodes TKO12; Josesito Lopez TKO5; Austin Trout UD12; Floyd Mayweather Jr. L12; Erislandy Lara SD12; Miguel Cotto UD12; Amir Khan KO6; Liam Smith KO9; Gennady Golovkin D12, MD12; Rocky Fielding TKO3; Daniel Jacobs UD12; Sergey Kovalev KO11; Callum Smith UD12; Billy Joe Saunders RTD8; Caleb Plant TKO11
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Miguel Vazquez SD4, UD10; Carlos Baldomir KO6; Lovemore N’Dou UD12; Kermit Cintron TKO5; Shane Mosley UD12; Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. UD12
Bivol matches the standard of opposition we’ve expected from Alvarez. Alvarez will be facing his fourth undefeated opponent in five starts, and the eighth opponent ranked in the top ten by TBRB or Ring in his last nine fights.
Alvarez competes for the second time in his fourth weight class, losing several inches in height and reach, but countering with a ton of experience.
Alvarez also has a more diverse game, mixing a heavy-handed body attack with deft counterpunches, good head movement, and clever footwork. An active Bivol who uses his legs a lot could have difficulty in the second half of the fight if he can get to the ribs early.
Alvarez has to get to his body first.
Additionally, Bivol has good feet, quick hands, and an excellent job. Bivol isn’t flashy, but his fundamentals are excellent. He throws a textbook 1-2 and has an underrated left hook.
He’s not a consistent body puncher, but he does have a long right to the body that he can employ and one he used well against Sullivan Barrera.
There’s a chance this fight could look a lot like Alvarez’s match with Erislandy Lara, with both men concentrating on where fans might expect them to throw.
Bivol is bigger than Lara and should be more active than the Cuban was that night; if he can get into his in-and-out rhythm, he’ll have a tough time against Alvarez.
Until Alvarez loses again, it will be hard to pick against him. It is hard to shake the feeling that Bivol has to win more than seven rounds to win this fight. There may be some argument about this one when it’s over, but the smart pick is Alvarez by default.