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Dmitry Bivol must aim for damage limitation but could still be stopped by Canelo Alvarez

By Barry McGuigan

In strict boxing terms Saul Alvarez versus Dimitry Bivol is a contest worthy of Canelo’s annual Cinco de Mayo showpiece in Las Vegas.

It is important to point out, however, that I don’t agree with this fight. In support of Ukraine I think all Russian fighters and athletes in other sports should be banned until the invasion stops.

The opponents who have given Canelo trouble have been slick and fast, box fighters. His only defeat was inflicted by that exemplar of the type Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout were others to throw him off kilter.

Bivol is of this ilk. The only difference is he fights more like an amateur relying on his feet to get out of range rather than upper body movement.

Dmitry Bivol takes on Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas (AFP via Getty Images)

That will be a problem against Canelo, who cuts down the ring as well as any I have seen.

His footwork is so good. Like those other great warriors expert at closing opponents down, Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez, Canelo eventually drags you into a fight.

Conventional moves don’t work against him. He steps across as opponents retreat, walking them on to a right hand or a left hook.

And Canelo doesn’t miss. It might take four or five rounds to get his range but he will get to Bivol eventually.

It took him 11 rounds to nail Bivol’s compatriot Sergey Kovalev. Bivol is better defensively than Kovalev so theoretically he will be harder to reach.

He is also younger with fewer miles on the clock. But he does not carry Kovalev’s knockout power nor does he have the Krusher’s experience.

To survive Bivol has to keep the fight in the centre of the ring as long as he can. That way, in an emergency, he has at least four steps before his back hits the ropes.

But he does not want to meet Canelo there. He must fight on his terms and stop Canelo shutting off the ring.

Canelo Alvarez is the favourite for the fight in Vegas (AFP via Getty Images)

That means controlling distance with the jab. When he sees Canelo advance he has to take a step back and then throw quickly to keep Canelo off, then step back into the centre.

If Bivol does not land cleanly he must at least catch Canelo with something. The best way to achieve that is to aim for the chest. That way he will hit some of the target and force a reset.

Ultimately we are talking damage limitation. A Canelo points win is the more likely but don’t be surprised to see Bivol dispatched in the championship rounds.

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Dive Deeper:
Canelo Alvarez UK fight time: Start time and ring walks for Dmitry Bivol fight
Alvarez will return to the light-heavyweight division where he will challenge Russian star Bivol for the WBA world title in…
Patience key as Alvarez eyes Bivol crown
Las Vegas (AFP) - Undisputed super middleweight king Saul "Canelo" Alvarez embarks on another ambitious target on Saturday when he…
Boxing tonight: TV channels, live streams, start times and fight cards
Canelo Alvarez will challenge Dmitry Bivol for the WBA light-heavyweight world title tonight in Las Vegas, with a trilogy against…
Alvarez, Bivol make weight ahead of WBA light-heavyweight title clash
Las Vegas (AFP) - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol made weight Friday for their light-heavyweight world title clash in…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Canelo vs Bivol time: When are ring walks in UK and US for fight this weekend?
All you need to know about this weekend’s main event and undercard
Canelo vs Bivol time: When are ring walks in UK and US for fight this weekend?
All you need to know about this weekend’s main event and undercard
Get all your news in one place