Despite being unbeaten throughout his career and the defending WBA light heavyweight champion, Russian star Dmitry Bivol came into the fight as the underdog against Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez.
Although Canelo had a positive body language in the press conference, the 32-year-old remained quiet because he knew how important the fight was for his career.
Bivol took this confidence into the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and boxed magnificently. Despite being the favorite, Canelo struggled to penetrate the Russian defenses and was constantly on the back foot.
The right hand of Bivol dominated the bout as the Mexican legend struggled to build momentum.
The fight between Canelo Alvarez has been a long time coming. For years, the Kyrgyzstan native was chasing a fight with Alvarez, but it never came to fruition.
The initial phase of the year for Bivol was challenging as many top boxers ignored him to fight him during the year.
Eventually, in 2022, Eddie Hearn presented Alvarez with two options. He could fight against Bivol, make history in the lightweight division, or battle Gennadiy Golovkin in a blood-feud-ending bout.
Alvarez accepted the fight with Bivol. Despite coming into the fight as the 4-1 underdog, the Russian racked up the points round by round.
Bivol was calm and collective as he controlled the distance with his jab and maintained a tight guard, which didn’t allow Canelo to settle down.
“I proved myself today,” Bivol said in the ring afterwards. “I’m the best in my [division]. I keep my belt.”
The thing that makes this upset stunning is that nobody expected it. Not even Golovkin has been able to dominate the Mexican star like this.
The only thing controversial about this fight was the scoring system.
The three judges gave a 115-113 score line in favor of Bivol, suggesting it was a close fight. However, the people who watched the fight said it was a straightforward victory for the 32-year-old.
Bivol also got the better of Gilberto Ramirez later in the year, extending his unbeaten record to 21-0. With these two memorable wins, Bivol is also on course to be considered the boxer of the year 2022.
There are rumors that the superstars may fight again in 2023. The Russian has clarified that he wants to fight Canelo at super middleweight.