Unbeaten bivol posts upset Canelo with unanimous decision


It didn’t matter that Dmitry Bivol entered Saturday night’s title defense with the WBA light heavyweight belt.

He went to the ring first to boos, allowing challenger Saul “Canelo” Alvarez a grand entrance filled with a mariachi band, fireworks and pound-for-pound boxes great on an elevated platform.

Bivol just wanted to fight. And he fought.

Using height and reach to his advantage, Bivol beat Alvarez throughout the fight to retain his title via unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

“It doesn’t matter which, first or second, doesn’t matter to me – I just wanted this fight,” Bivol said of the entrance to the ring. “No matter what sound he has, what sound I have, how he went in. … And when he went to the ting and I heard the crowd, I really enjoyed the crowd screaming.”

Undefeated Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), who has worn a version of his belt since May 2016, handed Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) just his second loss of his career. All three judges scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bivol.

In dominating fashion, Bivol landed 36% of his power punches, per CompuBox, beating Canelo, 152-84. Canelo’s 84 punches landed was the fewest in a 12-round bout.

“I knew he was hitting hard and he was going to hit my body or my arm,” Bivol said. “I think from the (start of) the fight I see him; I see what he wants to do.”

After opening the fight with a trio of very close rounds, it was clear Bivol would be able to use his bigger and longer advantages to pepper Alvarez and keep him off with his power punches when attacking.

Bivol apparently took control in the fifth round when he got Alvarez on the ropes and landed several punches to his face. Alvarez brushed them off and waved him for more, but Bivol pulled away with aplomb, pulling the action back to the center of the ring.

It was composure and control that allowed him to land straight shots through Canelo’s arms and to his face to end the fight and help him win seven of the last eight rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.

Alvarez, who went back up to the heaviest weight of his career to fight for the 175-pound title, disagreed with the judges, saying he thinks he lost four or five rounds at most.

“I definitely didn’t lose the fight,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I think I was a bit tired towards the last few laps but I felt good.”

Alvarez, who wore sunglasses to his post-fight press conference but was clearly swollen around his eyes and forehead, fought just one other light heavyweight fight in his career, beating Sergey Kovalev in late 2019.

Alvarez’s only other loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.

With a rematch clause in the contract, Alvarez said during an in-ring interview after the fight he wanted a rematch with the Kyrgyzstan-born Russian champion.

Bivol replied, “No problem.”

However, both fighters were noncommittal in their press conferences, saying they have to see what’s next for both of them.

In the co-main event at 140 pounds, Montana Love (18-0-1, 10 KOs) beat Gabriel Valenzuela (25-3-1, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision with identical scores from all three judges (114-112). . The win cements Love as a junior welterweight contender.

Shakhram Giyasov (13-0, 9 KOs) defeated Christian Gomez (22-3-1, 20 KOs) unanimously (98-89, 99-88, 99-88) in a 10-round welterweight bout.

Marc Castro (7-0, 5 KOs) won by unanimous decision (60-54) over Pedro Vicente (7-5-1, 2 KOs).

Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19 KOs) defeated Scott Alexander by just 1:54 in the first round in a heavyweight bout. Alexander was a backup after Filip Hrgovic was forced to pull out of his scheduled fight against Zhang.

Earlier on Saturday, Joselito Velazquez (15-0-1, 10 KOs) won by a TKO in the 6th round over Jose Soto (15-2, 6 KOs).

Aaron Silva (10-0, 7 KOs) defeated Alexis Espino (9-1-1, 6 KOs) via TKO in the fourth round.

Elnur Abduraimov (9-0, 8 KOs) won by TKO in the second round over Manny Correa (11-1, 7 KOs).

Fernando Molina (8-0, 3 KOs) won a split decision against Ricardo Valdovinos (8-2, 5 KOs) 58-56, 57-56 for Molina and 57-56 for Valdavinos.


More AP boxes: and Unbeaten bivol posts upset Canelo with unanimous decision

Bobby Allyn

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