By Jack Tiernan: Trainer Joel Diaz Jr. says Dmitry Bivol is hurting the sparring partners they’re bringing into his gym to try for the May 7th title defense of his WBA light heavyweight belt against Canelo Alvarez. It’s not a good sign for Canelo that Bivol is hurting his sparring partners.
Canelo may have finally bit off more than he can chew in taking on the undefeated WBA 175-lb Bivol, considering he’s a level above the fighters the Mexican star has been competing against in the last four years.
Diaz Jr says he’s watched a lot of Bivol while he’s trained and sees his style as complicated, difficult for sparring partners to figure out.
The in-and-out movement that Bivol uses, it’s going to make it hard for Canelo to land his big power shots. In recent years, Canelo slowly walks forward with his high guard, and once he’s close enough to his opponents, he winds up on his shots.
That style has worked for him because he’s fought mostly stationary guys who didn’t have the legs to move. Caleb Plant is the only fighter Canelo fought that was mobile, but he gassed out after eight rounds against him.
Even with Canelo choosing the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to stage the fight with the Russian Bivol, it may not help him win.
Diaz says Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) is looking motivated in training for this fight, dominating & hurting the sparring partners they bring in. Bivol isn’t letting them get inside on him to land their shots, which is not a good sign for the 5’8″ Canelo.
Bivol has a problematic style that makes him hard to figure, and with his punching power, he could catch Canelo with something early. That’s what Diaz believes could happen on May 7th.
When Bivol hits the back, Diaz says it moves the frame because of his power, and he sees him as a big puncher that can hurt Canelo.
Bivol could catch Canelo early
“It’s going to take Canelo a few rounds to figure him out, and during that time, he could get caught,” said Joel Diaz to Fight Hub TV about Dmitry Bivol potentially catching Canelo early.
“What are we going to expect when this guy [Bivol] watched Canelo with his best shot. That’s the interesting part of the sport because both of these guys have dynamite on their punches.
“Sometimes I have five or six people hitting the bag hard, and you don’t see much of the movement,” Diaz said. “But when he [Bivol] is hitting the bag himself, I can see the whole frame move.
“The impact of the punches that he has, I can feel the vibrations all the way over here. He’s hurting a couple of guys, and that’s what I mean,” said Diaz on Bivol, hurting sparring partners.
“Bivol is a very humble, down-to-earth guy. He comes in and says ‘hi’ to everybody, but when he gets to work, he’s very serious about it. Just watching him, he has something special.
“This kid here, first of all, he’s 175 pounds. He’s bigger than Canelo. Canelo is a 168-pounder. The other thing is he’s very complicated. Every sparring partner that comes in here, the first thing they say is, ‘He’s very difficult. We can’t get inside. He uses his jab a lot.’
“He’s never stable, he’s always moving in and out, and when you try, he catches you. It’s a different style. I just think that Bivol has a style to ruin somebody’s night and not only that. He hits really hard.
“It’s going to play out really well against Canelo. This guy here is getting a full camp, eight weeks or more to get ready for the fight, which is a big plus for Dmitry Bivol. Most of the fighters in the recent past with Canelo, they’ve only come in with four weeks of preparation.
“This guy has already come in for a couple of weeks. He’s been training, and like I said, he’s a strong fighter, and he’s very athletic. He’s very smart in the ring,” said Diaz.
Sparring partners can’t get inside on Bivol
“Every sparring partner we bring into the ring, I kind of categorize in a way, thinking it’s Canelo, I see a lot of good points with Dmitry Bivol,” Diaz said. “I see a lot of good moves that he does that will complicate the style of Canelo Alvarez.
“Bivol is not a mover. He’s in front of you, and he’s in & out, in and out. Do you know what he has? I like to watch and stand aside and watch his team work with him. He’s very accurate.
“Every time he throws a jab, he lands it. He sets that jab to establish a combination, and when he lets loose with a combination when it’s a two or three-punch combination, he lands it, and he lands it with power.
“That’s why when I watch, some of the sparring partners that I have. We have Espino, and we have Carlos Rodriguez from Mexico. He’s a strong kid, 168-pounder, who comes forward and is very, very strong.
“The last time they sparred, I said, ‘Carlos, get inside.’ He said, ‘I can’t; he won’t let me get inside. Every time I try to get in and try to pressure him, I get caught with something heavy.’ That’s why I know it’s going to be a good fight.
Canelo could get hurt
“I can see either Canelo or Bivol getting hurt,” Diaz Jr said. “I know there are going to be knockdowns in that fight. It’s going to be a great fight and a very interesting fight because Dmitry Bivol, first of all, he’s a solid 175-pounder. He’s a big boy.
“He has great movement, great stamina, and great ability. He’s smart. When he catches you, he can hurt you. We’ve had fighters like that. We’ve had some great fighters in my camp. You put them in with an average Joe, and they don’t look good. They drop to their levels.
“Of course, not. Who did he fight?” Diaz said about Bivol not being motivated for his last two fights against Craig Richards and Umar Salamov.
“There’s no motivation there. It just stays active type of fights. I see Bivol fighting for something that really means something in his life. For this fight, you can’t relax; you can’t procrastinate.
“You can’t say this is an easy fight because it’s not. He knows it’s not an easy fight, and that’s why he has to pick it up a notch.
“He has to step it up and use other gears, and he’s going to step it up to the level of his opposition. That’s Canelo Alvarez. That’s why I know it’s going to be a good fight. It’s going to be one side to another, one side to another.
“This fight if it goes the distance, it’s going to be close, but if it doesn’t, it’s going to be either or because this guy hits really hard. If he catches Canelo the way he catches the guys here, he can hurt Canelo.
Canelo is human. He’s a great fighter, don’t get me wrong. He’s earned his spot by beating all these fighters. He’s improved a lot, the best pound-for-pound fighter, but This guy here is not to be taken lightly.
“You have to be in the ring with Dmitry Bivol to know that it’s not easy. It’s complicated to the point where he knows all these guys want to hit him, but they can’t because of his style.
“Everybody has a different style, and when you create your own style like he does, it’s very difficult. In and out, in and out, boom, jab, in and out. When he unloads, he gets back out again. You can’t catch him because he’s never sitting in one spot,” said Diaz about Bivol.