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Dmitry Bivol chosen as Paulie Malignaggi’s Fighter of the Year for 2023

Image: Dmitry Bivol chosen as Paulie Malignaggi's Fighter of the Year for 2023

By Sean Jones: Dmitry Bivol’s two wins over Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ has made him Paulie Malignaggi & ESPN’s Fighter of the Year for 2023.

Bivol’s victories over the superstar Canelo and the previously unbeaten former WBO super middleweight champion Zurdo Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) made him known to many casual boxing fans, who’d never seen him fight and didn’t know of his existence in the sport.

As Malignaggi points out, Bivol “crossed over to the mainstream” in boxing. He’s now been adopted by American fans as one of their own.

We witnessed that recently when Bivol was mobbed by fans when he attended a recent fight in Southern California.

Bivol literally had fans all over him, putting their arms around him, hugging, and giving him the red carpet-treatment that is usually reserved for stars like Canelo.

Even Gennadiy Golovkin wasn’t treated with such reverence as we saw with fans showing their admiration for Bivol. It was like he was royalty. Bivol enjoyed it, letting the fans paw him, and he seemed so relaxed and happy with the love he was receiving from them.

The way that Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) effortlessly defeated Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) and avoided Zurdo Ramirez opened people’s eyes, revealing his talent.

Bivol made Canelo look like a second-rate, unschooled fighter from start to finish. It was laughable how befuddled Canelo appeared in the ring against the talented Russian Bivol, and it had nothing to do with the height & reach difference between the two.

Bivol was the overall better-schooled fighter than Canelo, as he beat him in close, middle range, and outside.

“For me, Dmitry Bivol is the fighter of the year,” said Paulie Malignaggi to Paulie TV about his Fighter of the Year for 2023. “I think he’s pretty much everybody’s overall Fighter of the Year right now.

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“With a solid win over Canelo, which is what put him on the map as far as crossing over to the mainstream notoriety and then beating Zurdo Ramirez, who was kind of the boogeyman in boxing and people were avoiding with his 44-0 record with the world championships that he won and so on and so forth.

“It was a terrific win for Dmitry Bivol over Zurdo Ramirez as well. Those two wins for me put him as my fighter of the year,” said Malignaggi.

Next year, Bivol has IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev as his #1 choice for the fight that he wants. After beating Canelo, Bivol is no longer interested in revisiting that fight, as he has other mountains to climb and sees no point in reconquering that tiny dust hill.

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