By: Hans Themistode
Dmitry Bivol is well aware of the uphill battle that will be standing before him.
On May 7th, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Russian native will attempt to knock boxing’s premier star in Canelo Alvarez, off his high horse, while simultaneously defending his WBA light heavyweight crown. In the eyes of many, a victory for the Mexican product is simply a formality. With Alvarez audaciously snagging every world title at 168 pounds, he saunters into his bout against Bivol as a sizable favorite.
Still, the betting market’s conjecture will have no bearing on how Bivol will ultimately fair against Alvarez. Having scored victories against the likes of Joe Smith Jr. and Jean Pascal, Bivol has the experience and physical attributes to give Alvarez all he can handle. But just because Bivol can pull off the victory, will he? Let’s dive in and take a look at Bivol’s keys to nabbing the biggest win of his career.
Jab, jab, and jab some more
For as great as Canelo Alvarez has proven to be in his career, he still has one glaring hole in his awe-inspiring defensive game…the jab. Even while rising to the top of virtually every pound-for-pound list and despite embezzling several world titles across countless weight classes, fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Sergey Kovalev, Gennadiy Golovkin, and most recently – Caleb Plant, gave Alvarez fits with a piercing and consistent jab.
Luckily for Bivol, he has one of the best in the business. Before going into his offensive bag of tricks, Bivol uses his jab to soften up his opponents. Alvarez, known for his willingness to come forward, often flashes a high guard as he stalks his foes. For every step that Alvarez takes, Bivol should place his stinging jab into the face of his man. Alvarez’s ability to slip and counter is well chronicled but a well-timed jab can disrupt his defensive rhythm.
Be the bigger man
Although Alvarez has outboxed many high-level boxers, as of late, he appears hell-bent on ending his pugilistic night before the sound of the final bell. With stoppage victories in four of his five most recent ring appearances, including against Sergey Kovalev, another world titlist at 175 pounds.
Regardless of the pernicious knockout power Alvarez has displayed, Bivol has to remember one thing, he is the bigger man. Physicality hasn’t always been a major part of the Russian star’s career. Instead, he often opts to remain on the outside and outbox his opponents. While effective in most circumstances, Bivol can’t afford to simply sit back on his laurels and allow Alvarez to control the real estate of the ring. Come forward, push Alvarez back physically and remind him that he is, in fact, the bigger and stronger fighter.
Land the right hand
During the early stages of Bivol’s career, he was miscast as a deleterious knockout artist. While he did real off six consecutive victories from 2014 to 2016, Bivol has been forced to enlist the help of three judge’s watching ringside for his past six bouts.
Be that as it may, Bivol is very much a puncher. According to former two-time super middleweight champion David Benavidez, Bivol has quite possibly the most lethal right hand he has ever absorbed during sparring. The Russian native should uncork said right hand whenever possible and dissuade Alvarez from simply barreling forward. If Bivol connects early and often, and Benavidez’s words prove to be true, a more cautious Alvarez could change the entire complexity of their showdown.