By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez can’t afford to look past WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol towards his trilogy match against Gennadiy Golovkin in September because this could be the most brutal fight since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says he doesn’t even want to begin discussing the trilogy fight between Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) and Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) until the Mexican star gets past the unbeaten WBA 175-lb champion Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on May 7th.
In terms of boxing skills, Bivol is the best fighter Canelo will have faced since his loss to Mayweather in 2012.
To be sure, Canelo has fought some excellent fighters since the Mayweather fight, but no one with his talent. Bivol comes the closest to Mayweather.
Losing to Bivol, 31, would ruin Canelo & Hearn’s plans for the mega-fight with Golovkin on the Mexican Independence holiday weekend on September 17th on DAZN PPV.
What’s interesting is how so many boxing fans are writing Bivol off, lumping him in the same category as Canelo’s recent opponents, Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith.
Bivol is an entirely different animal to those fighters. Those guys were arguably paper champions that won their titles against mediocre opposition.
“I’m not even talking about Canelo Alvarez against GGG until this Bivol fight is over,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing Show. “I saw clips of Bivol; he’s looking sensational on the pads.”
It would be a colossal mistake for Hearn to assume that Canelo beats Bivol because his style is all wrong for him.
Every part of Bivol’s game is like kryptonite for Canelo, who has slowed down and no longer throws combinations as he did earlier in his career.
Since moving up in weight to the 168-lb division in 2018, Canelo has turned into a pot-shot fighter and is no longer capable of throwing more than one punch at a time.
“This may be the toughest fight of Canelo Alvarez’s career outside of Floyd Mayweather. This is a really tough fight. If he gets through, the GGG fight will happen, unquestionably. But it’s all eyes on May 7.”
Canelo has become predictable with the way he slowly walks down his opposition behind a high guard and then loads up on his single kill shots.
In contrast, Bivol bounces around the ring, carpet bombing his opposition with beautiful 2 to 4 punch combinations before retreating with his pull back. Bivol is like a bigger, more robust version of Shakur Stevenson, and man, what a nightmare he is for flat-footed, single-punch fighters.
Canelo isn’t cut out physically to be fighting at 175 against a fighter with Bivol’s talent, and he will be embarrassed on May 7th. Out of all the warriors in the 175-lb division, Canelo picked the one that was the toughest for his style.
Canelo would have been better off if he’d selected WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr because he’s more of a slow plodder like himself, and it would have been a more winnable fight than Bivol.
“Beterbiev is old. There are signs against Callum Johnson, against these guys. When have you seen Dmitry Bivol hurt in a fight?
“When have you seen Dmitry Bivol really look like he might lose a fight? Never. How good is Dmitry Bivol? We’re going to find out,” said Hearn.
Sean Jones wouldn’t call IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) an “old” fighter like Hearn is here.
Beterbiev is 37 now, but he’s still a colossal puncher who puts continuous pressure on his opponents and can take body shots. Beterbiev will be a nightmare for Canelo if that fight happens in 2022 or 2023.
Of course, if Canelo waits Beterbiev out until he’s 40, he’s got a chance to beat him. But if that fight happens now, Canelo will be annihilated by the body-punching Beterbiev in the same way the talented two-time Russian Olympian destroyed recent challenger Marcus Browne.
“I think if you’re talking about destruction and power, Beterbiev is the guy,” said Hearn. “If you’re talking about technical ability mixed with a little bit of punch power, smartness, and freshness, you’re talking about Dmitry Bivol.
Mayweather schooled Canelo, making him look like a ranked amateur in that fight. Bivol has the same tools to do the same thing to Canelo, but worse because he’s got the size, power, and mobility to expose him.
Mayweather was already in his mid-30s when he fought Canelo, and he’d lost his mobility by the time he was 35.
Against Canelo, Mayweather dominated him using his jab & shoulder roll defense. When Mayweather did move, it was straight back, and Canelo was too slow on his feet to pursue quickly enough to land.
Canelo vs. Bivol will be shown on DAZN pay-per-view at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the same venue where Canelo twice fought Golovkin, and many fans saw it as a pair of robberies.
Why did Canelo return to the same venue that saw him arguably lose twice but was saved by questionable decisions?