By Jack Tiernan: Trainer Robert Garcia suspects that Canelo Alvarez and his trainer took the fight with Dmitry Bivol lightly, believing that it was going to be an easy fight last Saturday.
WBA light heavyweight champion Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) surprised Canelo last weekend, beating him by a 12-round unanimous decision at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight was so one-sided that many boxing fans believe Canelo would be a fool if he activated his rematch clause to force Bivol to fight him again.
Robert is inclined to think that both Canelo (57-2-2, 39 KOs) and his trainer Eddy Reynoso didn’t put the effort needed in camp due to the Mexican star being a 5:1 favorite and the fight being viewed as a sure-thing win.
Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted last weekend that Bivol’s two previous lackluster performances against Umar Salamov and Craig Richards may have factored in Canelo’s decision to take the fight with him.
If Bivol had looked spectacular against Richards and Salamov, Canelo may have shied away from fighting him.
After all, Artur Beterbiev & David Benavidez have both consistently put on impressive performances, and Canelo has shown no desire to fight either.
Bivol fought the right fight
“I just think Bivol is that good. Bivol fought a perfect fight for 12 rounds,” said trainer Robert Garcia on his Unfiltered podcast. “He did enough to control with his jab and long punches.
“I said many times, Bivol is pretty fast and uses his combinations and punches pretty well, and that’s what he did. He controlled the fight with a lot of jabs and combination punches,” Robert continued.
“He never really went out to please Canelo and do what Canelo wanted him to do and exchange. He fought throughout the fight, and that was a great game plan, and he never made mistakes.
“He never fell out into what the crowd was screaming out or whatever Canelo wanted. He fought his fight throughout 12 rounds. Other fighters, when they feel their way ahead on the scorecards, sometimes make those mistakes and try to please the crowd. They make mistakes, and something happens.
“I think he fought the right fight the whole fight, and had a great game plan and took the win. On the other side, I’ve seen Canelo fight with previous opponents that were also big and tall. But throughout the fight, he’s [Canelo] the aggressor looking for those body shots and punches to the arms.
“Even though he tried to do that with Bivol, most of the time, I don’t know why he was backing up. Most of the time, he was pulling back, and that’s very dangerous against a tall, lanky guy that is going to be throwing those straight punches.
“Canelo, he’s done it before, but that was when he was way in control of the fight. During this whole fight, he was not in control. There were so many times when instead of stepping back like he normally does, he would pull back, leaving his hands down and his face up.
“That was surprising to me because that shouldn’t have been Canelo. Canelo is much better than that. He also looked a little tired. I have no idea how things went in camp,” said Garcia.
Canelo may have taken Bivol fightly
Me, personally, I would probably say that he may have taken the fight lightly. Not only him, but his team, his trainer,” Robert said of Canelo. “They’re 5:1 to win the fight, and everyone is talking about how he’s the best, and there’s no way he could lose and a fight. No one could beat him.
“His trainer [Eddy Reynoso] is also confident that there’s nobody in boxing that can beat Canelo right now, and just the whole boxing world thought the same thing. Pound-for-pound, the best.
“I’ve heard, and I’ve never been to any of his workouts, but I’ve heard that Canelo is very disciplined. He’s back in the gym a few days after his fights and very, very disciplined.
“We’ve had our own fighters that are very disciplined, but it comes to a point where they’re too comfortable and get a little confident. They get a little bit thinking it’s going to be an easy fight.
“Not only the fighter but sometimes the trainer too. A trainer gets to the point where, ‘Nobody can beat my fighter, and you don’t push him as hard anymore. That could have been the mistake.
“That’s the only thing I can think of that went too wrong. He [Canelo] just took the fight too lightly ‘this fight [Bivol] won’t be hard,’ and that was a big mistake, especially going in against a way bigger guy, a way heavier guy.
“You can’t think like that. He went in with [Sergey] Kovalev and dominated and knocked him out old. Well, yeah, hey [Canelo] wasn’t getting hurt or beat up or anything. He was just in control.
“He was going forward, blocking, blocking, and even though Kovalev was winning rounds too, he was touching him and touching him. With Kovalev, he kept coming and looking.
“When he hurt him, he finished him,” Robert said about how Canelo stopped the past his best 36-year-old Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round in their fight in 2019.
“With Bivol, he tried the first few rounds, but then he knew it wasn’t going to work. So he started pulling back and backing up a lot of times. He backed up a lot in the fight.
“When you go back in the fight where it’s 7-5, and you’re saying 10-2. Those rounds where Canelo backed up Bivol. It’s not like Bivol wasn’t backing up. Canelo did back him up on occasions and was landing those punches to the arms.
“Maybe a lot of them weren’t landing, and Bivol was countering with those punches, but some judges from the back see Canelo throwing and landing to the shoulders. The other one is in the back and has Canelo’s back to him,” said Garcia.
Bivol could win rematch easier
“So, they only see the punches,” Robert said about the judges. “Those rounds where Canelo pressed and landed those punches on his body, on Bivol’s body, and on his gloves. A lot of punches were blocked by Bivol. So maybe some of those rounds could have gone to Canelo. I’m not saying 7-5.
“When all three judges saw it like that. You see some punches that are landing, but they’re landing on the gloves. If the fighters are with their back, some judges might think they’re landing.
“So all of those things [might account for the judges scoring it closely at 115-113 x 3], especially with Canelo backing Bivol up. Those rounds where that happened could have gone to Canelo.
“I saw Bivol winning, but I can see why the judges would have had it like that at 7-5. There were occasions where Canelo did back him up, and Canelo did throw punches that didn’t land to the head but landed to the gloves, the shoulders, the arms, and he was still pressuring. Maybe he was pressuring enough for the judges to believe that was his round.
“Do I think he [Canelo] won? No, I think he lost, but that’s what I’m thinking. I haven’t been to his camp, but it happens to a lot of fighters. He might have taken the fight lightly. He might not have trained that hard and taken it that seriously.
“Maybe he was too confident and did things outside of boxing that he shouldn’t have done. Maybe the trainer himself [Reynoso] was thinking it was an easy fight and didn’t pay attention and didn’t focus enough on studying and watching videos.
“That’s my personal opinion, and I think that could have been a big reason when you don’t take a fight seriously.
“The mistakes he made in this fight showed a lot more and a lot clearer because of the opponent that he had in front of him. In the past, he got away with pulling back with his shin up because they’re not throwing as fast, and they’re not that strong either.
“Canelo, honestly, he would think about it twice and go back and fight against Dmitry Bivol at 175,” said trainer Joel Diaz at Behind The Gloves about Canelo Alvarez’s loss to WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol.
“In the next one, it’ll be a lot easier for Dmitry Bivol to beat Canelo because he already felt his hardest punch.
“When he first came into camp two months ago, we didn’t know with the political issues,” said Diaz about Bivol with what’s going on around the world.
“I realized a week in the camp when they brought the banner; the [Canelo vs. Bivol] fights on. Thank God everything went well, and Dmitry Bivol made history. That’s great,” said Diaz.