Thousands of boxing fans descended on Las Vegas on Cinco De Mayo weekend to see the sport’s biggest star in a marquee fight. What they didn’t expect was to see Canelo Alvarez lose.
But that’s exactly what a packed T-Mobile Arena crowd saw on Saturday night, when WBA 175-pound titlist Dmitry Bivol outboxed the Mexican superstar Alvarez, winning a unanimous decision to stun the crowd.
Bivol won by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 115-113.
Bivol’s size advantage was clear from the moment they stepped to the center of the ring after the opening bell. As he often does, Alvarez came out with a tactical approach, trying to look for a way inside against the crafty Bivol, who pawed at Alvarez with his jab.
Alvarez continued to look for the uppercut and had success in the early rounds when Bivol ended up against the ropes. But it was the reigning 175-pound titleholder who utilized his speed and technical ability to clearly win the exchanges at distance, frustrating the TKTK fans on hand to witness Alvarez’s second move to the light heavyweight division.
The second half of the fight started out similarly, with Alvarez moving forward with a little more urgency. In the eighth, Bivol pinned Alvarez against the ropes for a prolonged period of time, dictating the pace of the fight while Alvarez struggled to find an opening.
Alvarez came flying out of the corner in the ninth round and took the fight right at Bivol, pressing forward instead of hanging back and looking for openings. Bivol settled in for the middle of the round, but Alvarez finally managed to push Bivol against the ropes for a sustained period of time and put combinations together.
Bivol took back control in the 10th, holding Canelo at his pace again and controlling the exchanges. He landed cleanly again in the 11th, using his pinpoint accuracy to punish Alvarez when he opened up.
Alvarez continued to look sluggish and couldn’t mount much of a fight in the final round, though he still hopped on the ropes and celebrated with the crowd, many of whom walked out before the scorecards were even read.
It was Alvarez’s first loss since he dropped a decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.