Dmitry Bivol back in gym training: Will it be Canelo or Beterbiev?

By Boxing News - 02/08/2023 - Comments

By Craig Daly: Dmitry Bivol is back in the gym training for his next fight in April or May against an opponent still to be determined.

Unless Bivol has someone else in mind for his next fight, such as Eddie Hearn’s fighter, Joshua Buatsi, he might end up sitting idle until late summer.

The critical question is, who will it be? WBA light heavyweight champion Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) wants to fight IBF, WBC & WBO champion Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed 175-lb championship next.

Still, he’s not going to be available because he’s got Ramadan, and he has a bad cut that is healing from his recent title defense against Anthony Yarde.

Canelo Alvarez has made it known that he wants a rematch with Bivol to avenge his loss from last May, but the Mexican star is thought to be taking a tune-up fight in May to test out his surgically repaired left wrist.

Alvarez, who Eddie Hearn promotes, may insist on the rematch with Bivol at 168 rather than 175. It’s unclear whether that idea would be Canelo’s or something that Hearn came up with in hopes of making the rematch more competitive.

Goodness knows, their first fight last May was about as one-sided as a match can be in favor of Bivol, and it’s impossible to imagine the rematch being any different if it takes place in the 175-lb weight class.

Beterbiev vs. Bivol – Who wins?

“He’s cutting up easier; he’s 38 years old, he’s had 300 amateur fights and a lot of tough fights in the pros. Listen, he’s aging,” said Teddy Atlas on The Fight about Artur Beterbiev getting old. “Nobody beats father time.

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“I would never rule out Beterbiev. He’s got power, and he’s got pride. I got Bivol as a solid favorite. I think there’s a good chance he [Bivol] stops him later on in the fight, either by cuts or an endless barrage of punches where Beterbiev isn’t a defensive wizard.

“I think that’s fair where there would be a steady barrage of punches where the referee will finally have to stop it, or his corner would have to stop it. I think there’s a chance where the fight could go down that kind of road where that’s what you would end up seeing if the fight ever happens.

“I think the jab would be important. Bivol is going to use that jab. I think you shouldn’t underestimate the jab of Beterbiev. It’s very hard where it’s like a phone pole jab. Do not dismiss the importance of the  jab. George Foreman had a phone pole.

“Well, Beterbiev had a jab. It’s not as big or as long as a phone pole, but it’s a shorter version of a phone pole. He’s got a hard, accurate jab. He’s got to use it to keep Bivol from dominating the outside, which is what he’s going to try to do, and to keep him from pot-shotting him too much. That’s what he’s going to wind up doing.

Attacking body important for Beterbiev

“He’s going to have to go to the body,” Atlas said about Beterbiev. “He’s going to have to find a way to get close enough to go to the body of Bivol, and Bivol is going to do what he does. He’s going to control range, and he’s going to be consistent. That’s the key. He’s going to be mentally consistent, and most fighters against Beterbiev they’re not.

“They get intimidated, they get broken down, they get dissipated, and they get evaporated. He’s not going to get evaporated,” Atlas said of Bivol. That’s the key; that’s the big thing. That’s really the big thing with him.

“He’s a terminator too, but he’s a terminator that is more sophisticated, and he turns into liquid metal. I think he’s going to use his legs as much as he has to, but not too much. He’ll be set.

“He’ll use his legs to get ahead of Beterbiev, and get out there to control the range to get out there where he controls the space and catch Beterbiev and make him pay the price for the real estate that he’s trying to make up and be set to punch.

“So he won’t move too much. A lot of guys move and survive against Beterbiev, but they can’t win because they can’t create offense moving that much. The thing about Bivol, he’ll be creating offense while moving at the same time and be able to create offense at the same time while he’s doing it without giving away defense.

Will Canelo drain Bivol down to 168?

“I don’t know if the [Beterbiev-Bivol] fight will happen because there’s a guy Canelo there who will try and get Bivol to come down to 168, which I would hate to see happen. He’s a light heavyweight. Don’t make him come down there for the money, and they probably will.

“That’s going to compromise him a little bit if he’s got to come down there a little bit to 168. Canelo has the pride and wants to make up for that loss. Alright, fight him at the weight he is that you fought him the first time when you underrated him. You did.

“Fight him at his weight, which is 175,” Atlas said about Canelo needing to fight Bivol at light heavyweight instead of draining him to 168 to weaken the 175-lb champion. “Do that if you’re going to do it, or if you’re not going to do that, stay at 168 and fight Benavidez. Then I’ll take my hat off to you; I really will.

“Don’t say you’re the best 168-pounder in the world if you can’t beat the other best 168-pounders in the world, a guy named Benavidez. I know Benavidez is fighting Caleb Plant [on March 25th]. I think he’s going to go through Plant. I like Plant. I just think that fight for Plant, I think Benavidez is too big, too strong. He’s also got a great amateur background in his history, in his life, in his life.

“I think that fight is going to be kind of like going down to the shore…you watch the high tide come in. I think that’s what you’re going to be watching in that fight [Plant-Benavidez]. You’re going to be waiting to see when that high tide comes in. Maybe it’ll be three, four, five rounds, six, but in that fight, Plant-Benavidez, the high tide is going to come in.

“When the high tide comes in, what do you do? You get off the dock and go to your house. Yeah, you get off the beach. Plant is going to get washed off the beach; that’s the problem. That’s how I feel. The truth is important in this world.

“I want him to,” said Atlas when told that Plant should try and bring it against Benavidez.