Bivol Sees Beterbiev as “Hardest Test” Yet, “Stronger than Canelo”

By alclassico - 01/22/2024 - Comments

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol states that IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champ Artur Beterbiev is “Physically stronger than Canelo” Alvarez, and he views him as the “hardest test” of his career when the two unbeaten fighters meet for the undisputed championship this summer in Riyadh, Saudi.

That’s a big compliment from Bivol saying that Beterbiev is “stronger” than the Mexican star Canelo, as he’s viewed as a big puncher, albeit at 168, not 175.

Canelo couldn’t dent Bivol’s chin in their fight in 2022 and wound up losing a twelve-round unanimous decision in a contest that appeared to be more one-sided than the narrow scores turned in by the crew of judges that worked the bout.

Strength and Power

Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) tells Matchroom Boxing that his opponent, Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs), is “like a stone” and has a lot of punching power, as well as a high degree of technical skills that he’ll be bringing to the ring when the two square off in June or July.

It will be Bivol’s job to find out how to avoid getting caught by Beterbiev’s big punches because he’s knocked out 100% of his 20 opponents during his professional career.

Many believe that Beterbiev was hard done with scoring his quarter-final fight with Oleksandr Usyk in the 2012 Olympics, appearing to win the fight, only to have the judges give the victory to the Ukrainian star by a 17-13 score.

Experience and Confidence

Beterbiev has the better professional resume than Bivol, with victories over Callum Smith, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Joe Smith, Marcus Browne, Callum Johnson and Radivoje Kalajdzic.

The only name on Bivol’s resume is Canelo Alvarez, but he was a much smaller fighter who came up from 168 to challenge him for his WBA 175-lb title. At 5’8″, Canelo had no business fighting at 175 against a fighter the size of Bivol.

Bivol didn’t fight in the Olympics like Beterbiev, so he lacks the pedigree of the unified three-belt light heavyweight champion.

Finding Weaknesses and Controlling the Fight

Bivol, 33, will need to find an area in Beterbiev’s game that he can take advantage of, the “moments which he wasn’t good” in his recent fight against Callum Smith on January 13th.

That will not be easy for Bivol to fight instances where Beterbiev “wasn’t good” because he dominated the entire contest. He did get hit a few times by Smith’s powerful left hook when he was unloading on him in close, but those were brief.

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