By Sean Jones: WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol believes his boxing skills and ring IQ will lead him to victory on May 7th against challenger Canelo Alvarez on DAZN pay-per-view.
The price of the fight still hasn’t been revealed by DAZN or promoter Eddie Hearn, but it’ll likely be in the $75 range.
Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) has studied Canelo’s past fights back to his match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, and he’s spotted areas in his game that he can exploit.
The venue is one thing that the 31-year-old talented Russian Bivol will have going against him in his fight with Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs). Team Canelo selected the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
That’s the same place where Canelo fought for both fights against Gennadiy Golovkin and his match with Erislandy Lara.
You can argue that Canelo should have lost those three fights at the T-Mobile, but somehow the judges failed to score against him.
Bivol has the type of skills that can make this fight so one-sided that the judges at the T-Mobile Arena will finally get it right this time.
Bivol says his skills will be vital to beating Canelo
“Some people think those fights didn’t go the way I wanted and weren’t the type of opponents that I wanted, but they definitely got me this fight, and I’m going to be in my best shape, and I’m going to be ready on May 7th to perform and do my best,” said Dmitry Bivol on his two recent lackluster fights against Umar Salamov and Craig Richards.
“I live in Russia, and I came here [to the U.S] to prepare for the fight,” said Bivol.
“Because I believe in my skills every time when I come to the ring, I believe I can beat my opponent,” Bivol said when asked WHY he thinks he can beat Canelo. “Why, I couldn’t beat him?
“Of course, he has a lot of fun, and it makes him better than me on media, but he’s still the man and fighting on a lower category than me,” said Bivol on the Mexican star.
“He has good power, but I have power too,” Bivol said of Canelo. “He has skills, but my skills are good too.”
The kryptonite to beating Canelo are combination punching, body shots, jabs, and an ultra-fast pace fight. It’s been proven that you can’t beat Canelo by jabbing alone.
The judges don’t seem to score rounds based on jabbing for Canelo’s fights. For that reason, Bivol will need to use his jab to set up his combinations and body shots.
More important than anything, Bivol must force Canelo to fight every second without giving him the rest breaks that he needs. In terms of cardio, Canelo is a six-round fighter.
Canelo will gas after four rounds if Bivol can push a breakneck pace and spend the last eight rounds with his back against the ropes like we saw in his first fight with Gennady Golovkin and his match against Austin Trout.
Dmitry explains why knockouts have dried up
Bivol has failed to knock out his last six opponents since 2018, and some believe that he’s lost his punching power. The actual reason for Bivol’s dry spell is that he’s no longer fighting lower-level opposition like he’d been doing earlier in his career from 2014 to early 2018.
For an example of the kind of opposition that Bivol was knocked out during the early portion of his career, here are his last six knockout victims:
“I think the opponents changed,” Bivol said on why he’s failed to score a knockout in his last six fights since 2018. “Some of the opponents don’t want to win when they come to the ring against me.
“Some of the opponents are just tough, but I don’t think about finishing the fight by knockout because if you think about it, you won’t be throwing your combinations, your defense, your plan.
“You just have to make in the ring what you do in training. Yeah, of course, I watched them since he fought Floyd Mayweather,” Bivol said when asked if he’s watched many of Canelo’s fights.
“It’s hard to point out one fight, but I’ve pointed out things from all of his fights here and there,” Bivol said when asked what he’s learned from watching Canelo’s past contests. “He’s sometimes different in certain fights, more aggressive and more athletic.
“In other fights, he tries to box more. From all the fights that I’ve seen, I’ve taken certain things that I think are important to keep in mind when fighting him in trying to use and do your best in the fight.
“First of all, I’m not Sergey Kovalev. I’m a different fighter than Sergey,” Bivol said when asked ‘what will you do differently from Sergey Kovalev?’
“I talked to Sergey, and he said that ‘I don’t have enough time to prepare’ [for the Canelo fight in 2019]. After seven rounds, he just feel himself empty, and I think about it and work on this,” Bivol said.
Bivol preparing mentally
Bivol must prepare himself mentally for his fight with Canelo by studying the glaring mistakes the Mexican star’s opponents have made over the last four years.
It’s easy to see what mistakes Canelo’s recent opponents Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith made.
For example, Saunders frequently leaned forward with his hands down by his sides during his fight with Canelo last May.
That style of careless fighting only works with young fighters and have quick reflexes like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones Jr. when they were in the prime of their careers.
The last thing the aging injury-plagued Saunders should have done against Canelo was lean forward with his hands by his sides.
Another one of Canelo’s recent opponents, Callum Smith, spent the entire fight on the ropes covering up, resembling a second-rate sparring partner.
Although Eddie Hearn said a lot about how he felt that Callum was the best super middleweight on the planet going into the fight, the reality is that he was exposed as a phony in his previous fight against John Ryder.
Callum fought like a sparring partner because he was never good, to begin with, and should have had his title reign as the WBA 168-lb champion end in his fight against Ryder in November 2019.
“Me too, I respect him, of course,” Bivol said when told that Canelo said that he has much respect for him.
“Yes, of course, he’s the best opponent [that Bivol will have faced during his eight-year career] because all of the world knows him, and he’s proven he’s one of the best.
“He has a belt in four divisions. Of course, I respect him. If I don’t respect him, it’s stupid to go to the ring and fight him.
“The mental game is very important overall because you can do a lot of preparations and combinations and planning, but if you’re not believing mentally that you’re going to win that takes 40% of the possibility of you actually winning the fight, even if you’ve done the physical part,” said Bivol.
“As far as press conferences and stuff, in reality, the most important part is going in the ring. I believe my mental is my personal that I have to take care of and be prepared mentally, and as far as the PR and preparations, that’s not that important.
“The important part is getting in the ring with the right state of mind and believing in yourself.
“I have a goal of being the undisputed champion, and if this win gives me more opportunity to make a fight for another belt,” said Bivol when asked ‘what a win over Canelo will mean to him?’
“Of course, more people will know me. Something like that,” said Bivol about the significance of beating the superstar Canelo.
It’s good that Bivol isn’t putting too much emphasis on the press conferences because the last thing we need is to have him anger Canelo into attacking him the way the Mexican star did against Caleb Plant.
Canelo needs to wait until the actual fight to start throwing shots, as we can’t have either of these guys injured before then.
What Plant showed in the kickoff press conference with Canelo last September is that he’s thin-skinned and can’t handle being criticized.