On the morning of May 8, Russian WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol will face one of the best boxers of our time, Saul Alvarez. How foreign experts assess the chances of a Russian to succeed in a duel – in the selection of “RBC Sport”
Saul Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol
(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
On the morning of May 8, Las Vegas will host a duel between the absolute world champion in the second middleweight (up to 76.2 kg) Mexican Saul Canelo Alvarez and Russian Dmitry Bivol, world super champion, according to the World Boxing Association (WBA) in the weight category up to 79, 38 kg (light heavyweight). Bivol’s championship belt will be at stake.
Alvarez is one of the best boxers of our time, since September 2021 he leads rating of the best boxers, regardless of weight category, according to the authoritative magazine The Ring. In total, he has 57 wins (39 by knockout), one defeat and two draws in the professional ring.
According to authoritative experts, Bivol is Alvarez’s most serious rival since 2019.
The fight for the WBA super light heavyweight title will headline the tournament in Las Vegas on the night of May 8. The fight between the Russian and the Mexican will start around 6:00 Moscow time.
Bernard Hopkins, former two-weight world champion, Boxing Hall of Famer
“Canelo will smear it, just mashed potatoes all over the place. Another great event for him. People are really excited – they want to see if Canelo can stay mentally and physically at the top like he used to. Bivol’s physical advantage? If Canelo didn’t have the qualities, the talent that he has, then yes. But it’s not like that if we talk about it [преимущество Бивола], then it’s fantastic. From my point of view, everything in the upcoming is basically one-sided, it’s about what Canelo wants to do, not what Bivol is going to do.” said Hopkins.
Doug Fisher, editor-in-chief of The Ring magazine
“I think Bivol has a better jab, which is very important, as well as a trickier and more compact left hook. But Canelo is a better counterpuncher and has a more accurate power punch. One thing I noticed about Bivol is that he has a bad habit of dropping his hands right after the jab, which leaves him open to straight right hand punches. I don’t know if Alvarez will be able to finish the fight with Bivol early, but I think that he will deal more damage in 12 rounds and deservedly win by the judges, ” said Fisher.
Total The Ring interrogated 20 different experts leading up to this fight, and only Cathy Duva bet on a draw. The rest give the victory to Alvarez.
Cathy Duva, American promoter who works with former world light heavyweight champion Sergei Kovalev
“When and if the day comes when Canelo loses a fight, it won’t be against one of his peers. It will be against a bigger and younger boxer-puncher with exceptional intellect in the ring. I guess that’s a great description for Bivol, who has everything to top Canelo. I’m betting on a draw because the large Mexican crowd in Las Vegas tends to influence the judging, at least to some extent. Therefore, I’m not sure Canelo can lose a decision in Las Vegas to anyone. And Bivol is a boxer, not a puncher. When it comes to a decision by the judges, Canelo always has the advantage. I expect Bivol to fight hard and beat Canelo eventually. But I fear that a draw is the best Bivol can get under the circumstances,” Duva said.
Bob Arum, American promoter
“Canelo is something really special. Bivol is a good fighter, but in this fight I would give the advantage to the opponent. I think that he will be too tough for Bivol. However, this is not an attack on Bivol, because he is a competent boxer with good victories on his track record, ” said Arum.
Teddy Atlas, American coach who worked with Mike Tyson and Alexander Povetkin
“Canelo’s opponent has a fair chance of winning for the first time since the rematch with Gennady Golovkin in 2018. I don’t fall for Saunders and Plant with their unbeaten streaks. Before their fights, I said that there can only be one winner – Canelo. And a lot of people didn’t like it. I believe that the fight with Bivol is the first time after the second fight with Golovkin that Canelo’s opponent has a chance to win, ” said Atlas.
Eddie Hearn, British promoter
“Canelo is good, but I think he’s going to have a tough and dangerous fight because moving up to light heavyweight definitely puts him at a disadvantage. Moreover, this is a fight against a light heavyweight, who is at the peak of his form. This is not Kovalev, who led an unhealthy lifestyle and has already grown old. So I’m worried about Canelo in this fight.” said Hearn.
Ray Mancini, former world lightweight champion
“I’ll bet on Bivol because he is a natural light heavyweight who moves very well. Canelo always has problems with mobile boxers, he has not fought such a boxer since 2014 when he defeated Erislandy Lara, although many boxing fans believed that he lost that fight. Canelo has been fighting big fighters in recent fights, and a lot of them don’t move well on their feet. Bivol knows how to move, at least he does it better than Sergey Kovalev, ” said Mancini.
Timothy Bradley, former two-weight world champion
“At first, this fight will be relatively easy for Bivol, as he will get the advantage due to his activity. The fourth round would be the turning point as Alvarez would find a way around Bivol’s jab and start throwing counters. Bivol has a chance, the fight will go to the last rounds. Alvarez has brute strength and dominance in the ring. His ego is protected by a shield of invincibility. Alvarez will be forced to try hard, but he will win ahead of schedule – by technical knockout in the 10th or 11th round, ”- said Bradley.
Callum Smith, former world super middleweight champion
“I think it will be like the last few fights of Canelo, where he had to lose the advantage at the beginning of the fight, and then catch up with opponents. He will end the fight strongly and possibly win on points. I think many write off Bivol. But he is a very good fighter. We boxed a lot as amateurs and I always followed him. He does not “light up”, but always does enough. He is very difficult to beat, he is good at what he does and takes no risks. An interesting fight awaits us, – said Smith.