Canelo Alvarez dared to be great, but so did Dmitry Bivol. Bivol was surprisingly active, throwing far more punches than the Mexican superstar, and successfully retained his light heavyweight title in a shocking upset.
Bivol won a unanimous decision Saturday at T-Mobile Arena Saturday, outworking, outlanding and outboxing Alvarez to retain his WBA championship. All three judges had it 115-113 in favor of Bivol, who seemed to win by an even wider margin than that.
It was a mature, veteran performance by Bivol, a mature, veteran fighter. It wasn’t his size that won him this fight, either. It was his boxing skills and his smarts. Bivol, who is now 20-0, simply was better in every area than Alvarez.
“If you don’t believe in yourself and what you can do, you will achieve nothing,” Bivol said. “I believed in myself. My team believed in me and you should believe in yourselves.”
Alvarez went off as roughly a 5-1 favorite. He said he felt Bivol’s power, but shrugged off the loss.
He said it is one of the things that happens in boxing.
“He’s a great champion,” Alvarez said. “Sometimes in boxing, you win and sometimes you lose. I have no excuses. He won the fight.”
Alvarez, who said he would exercise his option for a rematch, admitted that size wasn’t the difference.
“He’s a really good fighter and he comes in and goes out,” Alvarez said. “I also felt his power. I have no excuses. It was his style, [not the weight]. You win and you lose in this sport. That’s what happens.”
The loss will end any hopes of a third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin, which was penciled in for September. It will also slam the door on Alvarez moving up to heavyweight to face unified champion Oleksandr Usyk.
He looked tired down the stretch and wasn’t able to rally like he’s done so frequently. Bivol landed 152 of 710 power shots compared to just 84 of 495 for Alvarez.
It will also knock Alvarez off his mythical perch as boxing’s pound-for-pound champion.