Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez keeps up with his Cinco de Mayo tradition of putting on a show for his fans this time against Russia’s WBA (Super) light heavyweight title holder Dmitry Bivol at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday.
Canelo vs Bivol, promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing will be shown exclusively on DAZN across the globe.
Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is at a stage of his career where he’s about legacy-defining fights, and, after talk of moving all the way up to cruiserweight for a WBC title clash with Ilunga Makabu, and speculation of a trilogy fight with long-time rival Gennady Golovkin, he settles on attempting to scale the 175 pound division once more after a brief flirtation in 2019.
Astonishingly, Alvarez is only 31, and has been a world champion in one form or another since 2011, where he won every round to take the vacant WBC super welterweight title against Matthew Hatton in Anaheim.
The Mexican unified before his sole loss, outsmarted by Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and has remained unbeaten since, moving to middleweight to outscore Miguel Cotto for the vacant WBC strap prior to a stunning knockout of Amir Khan.
He dropped back down to 154 pounds to reign once more, and then moved back to middleweight for a duo of controversial meetings with Golovkin, the first a split draw, and the second a close majority nod, before adding another weight class world title to his collection, the WBA super middleweight title with a simple stoppage of Rocky Fielding.
His sole foray into light heavyweight waters came in November 2019, where Alvarez survived a stern test by Sergey Kovalev, eventually scoring an eleventh round knockout.
Since then, Alvarez has campaigned as a super middleweight, adding belts with every fight until becoming undisputed champion in his last assignment, a decent tussle with Caleb Plant in which Canelo took a penultimate round stoppage to add the IBF belt, the final piece to the puzzle.
Born in Kyrgyzstan, based in California, and a Russian national, Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) has amassed a solid record, and won the interim version of the WBA world title in just his seventh fight, before being upgraded to full champion ahead of a one round knockout of Trent Broadhurst in Monaco in November 2017.
Five defences followed before an upgrade to ’Super’ champion status, and the 31-year-old travelled to the UK last May to outscore Craig Richards in a tougher than expected assignment.
He was last out in December, comfortably outscoring Umar Salamov in Russia for yet another notch on his belt. He is a smart, measured, technical operator, and will hope to cause Alvarez some serious questions this weekend.
Prediction: Bivol is definitely a man to be respected, but Alvarez just looks that level above in every fight he takes part in, with opponents unable to sustain enough offence to keep him at bay. It looks like this could be the case again, and I expect Bivol to make a bright start, before Canelo solves the puzzle to pull away for a comfortable points win.
Love battles Valenzuela
The undercard has been shorn of its main fight, as Filip Hrgovic withdrew on fight week from his IBF heavyweight title eliminator against Zhilei Zheng due to a family bereavement.
Montana Love (17-0-1, 9 KOs) has impressively stepped up in class recently, including a seventh round retirement win over former IBF world champion, Ivan Baranchyk, and the Cleveland man challenges Mexico’s Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela for the IBF North American super lightweight title.
Valenzuela (25-2-1, 15 KOs) is known to UK fans for his majority decision win over Robbie Davies Jr last February, and has scored two stoppage wins in his homeland since.
Prediction: This one is set for twelve, but Love can triumph inside schedule.
The vacant IBF North American belt is also on the line at welterweight, and talented Uzbek Shakhram Giyasov (12-0, 9 KOs) should be able to halt Christian Gomez (22-2-1, 20 KOs), before the end of their ten round contest.
The other ten rounder comes at flyweight, and Joselito Velazquez (14-0-1, 9 KOs) can take a points win over Colombia’s Jose Soto (15-1, 6 KOs), who was disqualified in his last outing.
The rest of the card features eight rounders. Marc Castro (6-0, 5 KOs) was dropped and taken the distance last time out, but he should return here with an early win against Pedro Vicente Scharbaai (7-4-1, 2 KOs) at lightweight, and at middleweight, Alexis Espino (9-0-1, 6 KOs), coming off a draw, can outscore unbeaten Mexican, Aaron Silva (9-0, 6 KOs).
Elnur Abduraimov (8-0, 7 KOs) should win the battle of undefeated at super featherweight against Manuel Correa (11-0, 7 KOs).