Media and boxing fans have many questions about fighters. They want to see them fight the best, unify champions, and take on new challenges. Canelo Alvarez, who has been doing exactly that for years, is still being criticized by many for not doing enough, fighting the wrong champions, or seeking out the wrong challenges.
Alvarez decided to go back to light heavyweight after unifying four world champions at super middleweight. There were plenty of other options available, and he sought out a more compelling opponent than the one he defeated in his first bout at 175 pounds, when he beat an old, faded Sergey Kovalev. Alvarez took a huge risk by making that decision on Saturday night. WBA champion Dmitry Bivol defeated him in a brutal fight. Bivol retained his title with unanimous decision.
Some rising prospects took the next steps in their development on the undercard. Montana Love got a knockdown, and then he suffered another against Gabriel Gollaz. This resulted in a win for the co-main event at juniorwelterweight. Marc Castro, 22, dominated six rounds to defeat Pedro Vicente. The bantamweight is slowly working his way up to higher levels.
Let's look at the key takeaways from Canelo's night. Bivol really broke onto the international stage, and his risks paid no rewards.
Are you a fan of MMA and boxing? Two of the most respected names in combat sports provide the latest news. Get the latest news and analysis from Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell on Morning Kombat. Check out this video below that explains Bivol's win over Alvarez Saturday night.
Bivol, a highly respected and technically skilled fighter, presented real challenges for Alvarez going into the fight. Brian Campbell, a CBS Sports expert, predicted that Bivol would win, despite Las Vegas odds suggesting otherwise. Alvarez was sometimes baffled by Bivol. Alvarez did not seem to be the stronger man in the ring, and Bivol stuck to a strict, disciplined gameplan.
Alvarez started to feel lost as Bivol continued to stick to his playbook landing quick combinations and an almost endless string of jabs. He was unable to play the bully, and he could not overwhelm his opponent. Alvarez seemed lost.
Alvarez cannot change certain things if he doesn't fulfill his promise to fight Bivol again under his rematch clause. Alvarez cannot get bigger or physically stronger enough to be a productive boxer. Bivol proved that he wasn't a man to be pushed around and Alvarez was not going to push him around. His jab was deadly efficient and it benefits greatly from Alvarez's height and reach.
Alvarez would have to use a more aggressive style of aggression to defeat Bivol. Alvarez cannot afford to be the one being pushed backwards by Bivol's punches that are simply too many. Canelo should instead throw more punches at Bivol and ensure that he isn't in control of the action. This is not an easy task.
Alvarez could return to super middleweight as he remains the undisputed champion in the four-belt division. He has plenty of big fights south of light-heavyweight, including the planned trilogy fight against Gennadiy Gorlovkin. Alvarez seems to have decided to put off his greatest rival's last competitive years. The Golovkin fight is well past due, as Golovkin's days of being an elite fighter are limited by age.
Bivol could be rematched and gain all the fame. Why not return to super-middleweight or middleweight to tick some of his critics and prove that he's not "ducking" dangerous fights while also putting an end to the Golovkin rivalry? Bivol is just 31 years old, so he will be available for the rematch someday in the future.
Boxing fans around the globe felt the old twist in their stomachs when the official scorecards for the match were revealed and all three judges gave the same scorecards of 115-113. This feeling is common when you feel that someone is going to suffer a horrible loss due to poor judging. Bivol won the unanimous decision, but the scorecards did not accurately reflect his dominance.
The round-by-round scoring of each round was then revealed. Fans were able to see three scorecards which gave Canelo each round. It is amazing that not one, but three official scorers, saw the first four rounds of Canelo's fight. Canelo was limited to single-digit connects for four rounds. In fact, in 10 rounds of 12 rounds, Bivols punches were more telling than Canelo's. It was amazing to see that Canelo was only one round away from a fight in which Bivol landed almost twice (152 to 84), the number of punches he received.
The result was accurate for at least one night. Even though the method for arriving at the correct conclusion was so implausible.