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Dmitry Bivol vs. Artur Beterbiev preview by Tim Bradley

Image: Dmitry Bivol vs. Artur Beterbiev preview by Tim Bradley

By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley feels that Dmitry Bivol’s quick feet will make the difference in a fight against IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev when the two battle it out for the undisputed championship next year.

Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) is a huge puncher, particularly at close range, but it’s going to be difficult for him to get in range often enough against WBA champion Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) to land his power shots.

We saw last weekend how Bivol took advantage of the slow hand and foot speed of the previously unbeaten mandatory challenger Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez in Abu Dhabi, beating him to the punch and not allowing the bigger fighter to get in range to unload his bombs.

Beterbiev’s hand speed is similar to that of Ramirez, which will make it difficult for him to compete with the faster Bivol.

“I know what Bivol can do, but I’ve got to see the holes. I got to see where Bivol is weak where Beterbiev can take advantage of him and vice versa,” said Tim Bradley to K.O. Artists Sports when asked about his thoughts on a fight between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev.

The problem is, Bivol has great feet, and then he stays close enough to be able to counter you. That’s the difference. You’ve got to keep that guy honest. Bivol won’t throw with power.  He’ll maintain his distance just like he did with Canelo, and that’s what you’ve got to do.

“You get a guy defensive, especially a guy like Beterbiev, and he uses that high guard. If you can bring that pelvis forward, you got him. What is he going to do?

“I’m looking for weaknesses in both guys, and then I’m looking for strengths to see which one can do it and knows how to do it. I’m looking at their fights repetitively, saying, ‘Damn, he’s able to land his right hand against that,” said Bradley about Bivol.

Canelo must change tactics for Bivol rematch

“Those two strategies that you use, that junk didn’t work against Bivol,” said Bradley about Canelo Alvarez’s game being neutralized by Bivol last May. “That walk you down, high guard, entice you, beat you on the shoulder. That didn’t work.

“Then stay on the ropes and play rope-a-dope to try and bait you in to try and land a big shot; that didn’t work. Canelo got to get back to moving his feet, man.

“He’s got to get back on his bike, moving here, moving there, using subtle movements. He’s got to get back to his craft. He got too comfortable knocking guys out.

“He [Bivol] uses a lot of misdirection. He uses little small movements to get your guard out of position. So if you use the high guard, he’ll use little feints to come up to attack when he sees the openings.

“That’s one thing that he [Bivol] does that nobody understands and gives him credit for. So he’s very cerebral inside there, very creative. If you see him step back and drop his hands, he’s looking to lure you in. That means he’s looking to box.

“So he’s using a low guard to force you to come in and hit him so then he can set up his counters over the top or punch while you’re punching in between shots. He’s learned that action of the game as well.

“The way he shoots his jab, he steps through his punch. When he gets to the inside, he’s mauling you on the inside, getting control, and then when he’s punching, he’s not loading up. It’s just short, quick, accurate shots on the inside. It’s tough to deal with.

“You don’t have a guy that’s loading up, so it’s hard to see those shots coming,” said Bradley.

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