This coming weekend fight fans around the globe will be focused on the Light Heavyweight division as the unbeaten Dmitrii Bivol (19-0, 11) takes on Mexican megastar Saul Alvarez (57-1-2, 39), at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The bout will see Bivol looking to extend his WBA Light Heavyweight "super" title reign, whilst Alvarez will look to further cement his place as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, and one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time.
The bout promises to be a serious test for Canelo, who has looked sensational in recent years, whilst Bivol will get a chance to make a huge name for himself and prove he really is as good as his fans believe.
Of the two fighters there is no doubting that Alvarez is the bigger name and the more prominent star. The Mexican is widely regarded as the face of the sport and the biggest global star boxing has. Not only is he regarded as a huge star but he's also widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter, and has had success from Light Middleweight up to Light Heavyweight, winning titles in all 4 weight classes. Not only that but his resume is also incredible, with wins against the likes Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant.
In the ring Canelo is a supreme fighting machine. He's an offensive fighter, who presses forward on the front foot, mentally breaks fighters with his front foot pressure, but applies that pressure in an intelligent, educated fashion. He uses smart footwork to cut the ring off, excellent head movement to make fighters miss, a tight guard to block shots that head his way, and some of the best body punching in the sport. Although not a huge single punch puncher Canelo is heavy headed, and his shots do damage right through the bout, with his power carrying late into bouts. He's often looks under-sized at 168lbs, never mind 175lbs, but he's physically imposing, thick, heavy set and incredibly strong, allowing him to push naturally bigger men around. Worryingly for opponents he's also intelligent, with a good boxing brain and he has shown an ability to adapt when he needs to. If we're looking for flaws with Canelo, he does have relatively slow feet, movement has caused him issues numerous times during his career and fighters have had success by keeping him chasing, but he his typically got to them sooner or later, Floyd Mayweather Jr aside.
Russian based fighter Bivol is a fighter who has generated a lot of buzz among the hardcore fans early in his career, with exciting performances, and highly developed skills, along with an impressive work rate and a fan friendly style. His early years as a professional gave hints at him something a bit special, and someone worth tuning into. It was noted that he was a stand out amateur, though from his early days as a professional it was clear he had a style suited to the professional ranks. Early career wins over the likes of Felipe Romero, Jackson Junior and Felix Veral, all in his first 7 fights, put him on the fast track. Sadly however as the level of competition improved Bivol's style began to move away from exciting and over the last 4 or so years he has gone from exciting to conservative, controlling and effective, turning fans against him, despite solid wins over the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal and Joe Smith Jr.
In recent years Bivol has focused a lot on boxing. Dictating the range, tempo and style of the fight. Using footwork to create space. Controlling the action behind his long straight punches, and good timing, rather than work rate, aggression and combinations. He has seemingly been happy to cruise to wins, and had disappointing performance against the likes of Isaac Chilemba and Craig Richards as a result. There is no doubting his talent, but there is a lack of fire, excitement, drive and in some ways ambition. And it has resulted in a lot of his recent fights feeling dramaless, as he sucks the excitement out of bouts. It works, and gets results, but certainly does feel like he has lost much of the good will he had.
Although a solid Light Heavyweight Bivol is certainly no physical freak at the weight, nor a massive puncher. With Canelo looking to make his name at the weight, Bivol is the ideal foe for him, unlike Joe Smith Jr and Artur Beterbiev, who can both bang. Bivol will try and box with Canelo, and will have success, with his footwork, straight punching and work at distance. Sadly though we don't see him keeping Canelo at bay long enough to rack up the rounds, and instead he will be forced to either stand and fight, or go through the motions to lost a decision.
We don't see Bivol having the hunger needed to make this into a fire fight late on. Instead we see him starting well, being caught up in the middle rounds, and then having Canelo take the lead, with his work rate and pressure, and go on to take a wide, clear, decision over the champion. Bivol will have moments, but will simply not do enough.
Prediction - UD12 Canelo
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.