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Bivol ready to REPLACE Saunders for Canelo fight

Image: Bivol ready to REPLACE Saunders for Canelo fight

By Sean Jones: Dmitry Bivol is ready and willing to step in and replace Billy Joe Saunders as the opponent for Canelo Alvarez to fight. Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) wants to move down to 168 and face Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) in case WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) is suspended or stopped of his title.

Boxing fans would rather see Canelo fight IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. People were calling for that fight after Canelo defeated WBO 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2. Canelo vacated the WBO title and went back down to 168, where he’s expected to face Saunders next. Like Beterbiev, Bivol would arguably be more trouble to Canelo than he’s worth.

(Photo Credit/Matt Heasley)

Image: Bivol ready to REPLACE Saunders for Canelo fight

Canelo would have problems with Bivol

“I’ve said now for over a year that I’m ready, willing, and able to move down to super middleweight and fight Canelo,” said Bivol.

The boxing skills and talent of Bivol would be a real problem for Canelo. The Mexican star has been fighting a lot of older guys, like Gennadiy Golovkin, Kovalev, and Jacobs lately. Bivol, 29, is the same age as Canelo, and he would have to figure out how to deal with his talent.

Whether Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions can get Bivol to take the fight at a lower price than Saunders is the big question. Bivol is a pure boxer, who is criticized at times for putting on dull performances. He doesn’t try and knock out his opponents like Artur Beterbiev. For that reason, Bivol has failed to win over a huge fan base in the U.S.

Bivol, 29, is a small light heavyweight, and he believes that he can easily make 168. That’s the division that Bivol probably should be fighting at, but he’s chosen to campaign at 175. Up until recently, it didn’t make sense for Bivol to move down to super middleweight due to the lack of big names in the division.

But with the arrival of Canelo and now Daniel Jacobs to the weight class, it would be smart for Bivol to begin campaigning at 168.

Bivol has victories over Jean Pascal, Sullivan Barrera, Joe Smith Jr., and Isaac Chilemba. Only Pascal gave Bivol any problems, but he still beat him by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision.

Image: Bivol ready to REPLACE Saunders for Canelo fight

Bivol confident he’ll beat Canelo

“We are willing to make the fight on very reasonable financial terms,” said Bivol. “My team understands that unlike many other opponents, my goal is not the payday but to face the best in boxing today. I know I can beat him, and the real rewards will come after this fight.”

Saunders’ situation is unknown at this point after the shocking video that he posted recently on social media. The British Boxing Board of Control has already suspended, they could increase the suspension time in their hearing on his case.

Also, the WBO may potentially strip Saunders if his title. They’ll make their decision what action to take, if any, at a later date.

The 6’0″ Bivol would have a commanding size advantage over the 5’8″ Canelo, and that could be an essential factor. Kovalev is 6’0″, but he fought like an old over-the-hill level fighter, and didn’t have the ability that he possessed years ago.

If Canelo is looking for an excuse for why he shouldn’t fight Bivol, he can find one quickly. Bivol has these things going against him:

  • Not well known with U.S boxing fans
  • Less than crowd-pleasing style
  • Tends to jab too much
  • Shows little interest in scoring knockouts
  • Weak resume

Bivol does have some notable victories on his resume like Pascal, Joe Smith Jr., and Barrera, but they weren’t elite-level fighters. Pascal was an excellent fighter in his prime, but he was 35 when Bivol fought him.

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