Just about 2.5 years after felling Sergey Kovalev in his first Light Heavyweight appearance, undisputed Super Middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez, returns to 175 pounds tonight (Sat., May 7, 2022) to challenge undefeated WBA titlist, Dmitry Bivol.
The bout kicks off a two-fight deal between Canelo and DAZN that will see the pound-for-pound superstar face rival Gennadiy Golovkin a third time this coming September. That’s assuming he gets by one of the best in the business in Bivol, though, and that’s far from a sure thing.
The pay-per-view (PPV) main card also sees Scott Alexander step up on short notice to fight Zhang Zhilei, fast-rising Montana Love throw down with upset artist Gabriel Valenzuela, and Uzbek standout Shakhram Giyasov square off with Christian Gomez.
We all know what you’re here for, though, so let’s not waste time.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Record: 57-1-2 (39 KO)
Last Five Fights: Caleb Plant (TKO-11) Billy Joe Saunders (RTD-8), Avni Yildirim (RTD-3), Callum Smith (UD) Sergey Kovalev (KO-11), Daniel Jacobs (UD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Gennadiy Golovkin x2, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Amir Khan, Liam Smith
Record: 19-0 (11 KO)
Last Five Fights: Umar Salamov (UD), Craig Richards (UD), Lenin Castillo (UD), Joe Smith Jr. (UD), Jean Pascal (UD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Cedric Agnew
When Canelo challenged Kovalev in 2019, “The Krusher” was visibly on the decline, having suffered a brutal knockout loss to the historically light-punching Eleider Alvarez just two fight prior. This is not the case here — Bivol is not only square in the middle of his prime, but he’s firmly established himself as one of the top two fighters at 175 alongside unified WBC/IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev. He boasts a marvelous technical base to go along with his ostensible size advantage in this match up. There’s no question that he’s got the toolbox to frustrate Canelo’s seek-and-destroy offense.
There is, however, a question of how willing he is to dig into it.
Bivol hasn’t scored a finish in more than four years, and it’s not like he’s exclusively fought killers in that span. He’s largely content to do just enough each round, which isn’t a particularly good look against someone as aggressive as Canelo. Indeed, Canelo’s style isn’t just effective, it’s also visually appealing to the judges, as everything he throws looks like it hurts. Even if Bivol finds success picking him off with jabs and tight counters, there’s no guarantee it’ll be enough to outweigh Canelo’s bombs on the scorecards.
Again, Bivol can win this fight. Beyond his size, he avoids a lot of the bad habits that have allowed Canelo to bully his way inside and do damage to skilled technicians. I just don’t see his clinical approach producing enough eye-catching moments, even if he does achieve the Herculean task of defusing Canelo’s mauling pressure.
In short, be ready for controversy.
Prediction: Alvarez def. Bivol via split decision
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of the Canelo vs. Bivol main event right here. The PPV main card broadcast kicks off on DAZN PPV at 8 p.m. ET, while Canelo and Bivol are expected to make their ring walks around 11 p.m. ET.
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