Just moments ago we saw WBA Light Heavyweight "super" champion Dmitrii Bivol (20-0, 11) score a career defining win, as he out boxed the "face of boxing" Saul Alvarez (57-2-2, 39), to retain his title, and make a huge statement on the boxing world, in a performance that saw him control the action, dictate the tempo, and make a statement to the rest of the 175lb division.
The early rounds were close, with Bivol out landing Canelo and being more active, whilst Canelo seemed to land the better single shots. Despite the success from the Mexican he was really struggling with the range, the tempo, the foot work and the straight punches of Bivol. Canelo pressed the action, and looked to damage the arms of Bivol early on, a tactic he had used in previous fights, but was taking a lot of scoring punches in return, and really struggling to have sustained success.
As we went into the middle rounds, Bivol continued to out work Canelo who's work rate really vanished, and his moments of success became less and less frequent. Notably what became more obvious was Canelo trying to catch his breath, backing on to the ropes, and looking to goad Bivol in. The tactic might have worked against a more emotional fighter, but Bivol made the most of the situation and worked at range, staying intelligent and picking and poking at Canelo, not giving the Mexican a rest but also not biting on Canelo's bait. It was smart, intelligent, and kept Canelo essentially tied up on the ropes.
Notably on the occasions where Bivol was backed on to the ropes, which happened a few times a round, Canelo struggled to get through the guard, and the moments of Bivol on the ropes were fleeting, with Bivol turning his man and resuming control of the action from center ring. Essentially suggesting that any success Canelo had, was being returned with interest.
In the late rounds, we began to see Canelo fighting in what was almost a predictable pattern. The first minute of the rounds he was coming out fast, trying to have success and catch the eye. But there was little power on his shots, even the bigger shots didn't seem to have much on them. After the first minute he seemed take almost a minute to catch his breathe, allowing Bivol to essentially over-come the early deficit of the round, and then control it in the final minute.
Despite seemingly control large swathes of the bout, and really seeming like the clear winner, there was always a worry the judges would do what boxing judges do, and protect the bout's money fighter. Especially knowing how much Canelo was worth to DAZN. It appears they tried to do that here, but even they couldn't manage to fudge the numbers and give Canelo the win. Instead all 3 scored it 115-113. A score didn't reflect the bout, but did, thankfully, get the winner.
For Bivol this is a career defining win, and one he may get the chance to double up on, given their was talk, immediately after the bout, of a potential rematch. If that happens we can't help but think the result will be the same, and Canelo may well end up becoming spoiled afterwards
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.