On Saturday evening, Dmitry Bivol was sitting at the packed head table, between his manager, Vadim Kornilov, and the promoter of his fight promotion, Eddie Hearn, and beaming as he spoke to media in a packed room at the T-Mobile Arena.
In the end, Bivol, the World Boxing Association light-heavyweight champion, looked practically the same as he did before the fight started, after suffering 12 brutal rounds against Saul Alvarez. His short, dark brown hair was pushed forward and kept close to his face. His features were completely unmarked.
Bivol had given a frigid stare to lvarez at a press conference last week, despite the fact that he was the undisputed super-middleweight champion and definitely the main attraction on Saturday night. However, after defeating Canelo Alvarez by majority decision, Bivol, who was born and raised in Russia, was beaming as he answered questions in English, which was his second language.
The decision was considered an upset by the majority of those involved, including lvarez’s supporters, particularly those who had travelled to Las Vegas to see it. Leading up to the fight, lvarez had expressed an interest in beating Bivol and ultimately becoming the undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the world.
As a result of the fight, several of lvarez’s business partners, including DAZN, the streaming service that utilised Saturday’s fight to launch its pay-per-view service, as well as Matchroom Sport, the promotional company that provides boxing material to DAZN, were taken aback.
lvarez said that he want a rematch as soon as possible, and a compelling commercial case can be established for a second fight with Bivol. Despite the defeat, Alvarez, who has a record of 57-2-2, continues to be the most popular fighter in the sport. A match with him is a goldmine for everyone who is a part of it.
Golden Boy, the organisation that promoted him, and DAZN, a streaming video service that was just getting started in the United States and entering the boxing market in 2018, made a $365 million contract around Alvarez in the summer of 2018. The former Golden Boy boxer parted ways with the promoter and, as a promotional free agent, collaborated with the streaming services DAZN and Matchroom on a series of fights that saw him unify championships in the 168-pound super-middleweight category. In November, Alvarez made the move to Showtime, where he fought Caleb Plant to claim the title of undisputed champion.
For the Plant fight, lvarez had a guarantee of $40 million dollars. He received a $15 million advance for facing Bivol, with the lesser guarantee serving as a clue that the fight’s promoters anticipated strong pay-per-view sales — as well as a substantial bonus for the main event.
DAZN, on the other hand, has been planning a third fight between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight champion, for quite some time. Golovkin, like Alvarez, has partnered with the streaming service. A tie and a lvarez victory in their first two fights brought in total pay-per-view buys of 2.4 million, which was a strong showing for DAZN, which now charges a premium for lvarez fights.
On Saturday night, all three judges awarded the victory to Bivol, who won 115-113. They all predicted that Lvarez would win each of the first four rounds, and that Bivol would win seven of the next eight rounds. According to Compubox, Bivol landed 152 of 710 blows, whilst lvarez fired 495 punches and landed 84, according to the same source.
This hid lvarez’s game plan, which included hammering on Bivol’s left shoulder and biceps in order to drain the power from Bivol’s jabs and left hooks, among other things. These swings did not register as landed punches, yet their effect was felt nevertheless. Bivol’s upper left arm had gone bright red by the seventh round.
Bivol, on the other hand, continued to use his left hand, spearing lvarez with punches to the torso and head. In addition, throwing left hooks at the end of five-punch combos produced an impact that could not be measured statistically. In response to each strike, Lvarez would lean back, and Bivol’s fist would whistle past the corner of his mouth. Although the blows did not always connect, they were effective in forcing lvarez out of counterpunching position and allowing Bivol to return to his favoured range.
Bivol remained aggressive late in the fight, even when prior lvarez opponents had slowed down. In Round 11, he hit a jab, followed by a right shot that caused lvarez’s perspiration to splatter all over the place. In Round 12, lvarez was forced to withdraw and regroup after taking another hard jab. He was gasping for air at that point, exhausted after using all of his energy on power blows that had failed to knock Bivol out.
Lvarez suffered his first defeat since September 2013, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated him by unanimous decision, although it does not necessarily reflect poorly on him. He stated before the fight that Bivol would be considerably harder than his previous opponents, and he admitted afterward that adding weight to compete as a light heavyweight may have slowed him down in the process.
First and foremost, Top Rank has signed Artur Beterbiev, who currently holds the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation championships, as well as Joe Smith Jr., the World Boxing Organization champion. For any of them to agree to an agreement, there must be collaboration amongst promoters, which occurs relatively sometimes in this sport. DAZN and Matchroom have agreed to extend lvarez’s contract for one more fight, which he will fight in the next few weeks.
Second, a rematch with Alvarez will be more lucrative for Bivol, particularly now that he has earned the one credential he lacked before to Saturday’s fight: a victory over boxing’s most famous opponent, Canelo Alvarez.