Dmitry Bivol defeats Canelo Álvarez by unanimous decision

Canelo Alvarez he had three minutes to avoid disaster, one round to eliminate Dmitry Bivol and saving what the world thought would be an easy victory.

One minute in his last chance, Álvarez, the Mexican superstar fights on the Cinco de Mayo weekend, was being booed by a crowd that adored him. a minute later, Mike Tysonsitting at ringside, he decided he had seen enough and walked away.

Alvarez would not have performed the miracle. He wouldn’t have put the bigger Bivol on his back. Bivol was, incredibly, too good. Nothing worked. And when the three minutes were up, after Bivol hooked up with a few more clean shots, the question was whether the three judges would steal a win for the star of Saturday night’s show at the T-Mobile Arena.

Bivol won the match, as it should have, albeit with a unanimous decision that was closer than it should have been. Each judge scored the 115-113 fight for Bivol (20-0, 11 knockouts).

“It was my turn to lose today,” said Álvarez in Spanish in the ring after his first defeat in nine years. “I have no excuses. I didn’t do enough to win. “

Álvarez had a different tone in his post-fight press conference, saying he didn’t think he had lost to Bivol. “He has won four, five rounds, maximum”.

It was only the second professional defeat for Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs). The other was against Floyd Mayweather Jr. as a light middleweight. He fought Saturday as a light heavyweight (175 pounds) for the second time in his career, taking on Bivol for his World Boxing Assn. title.

Álvarez was the heavy favorite, best of 5 to 1, against the quiet Russian. He was expected to win to officially organize his long-awaited third fight against Gennadiy Golovkin. That meeting was tentatively scheduled for September 17, the day after Mexico’s Independence Day. SoFi Stadium was considered the site. It would have been a big draw.

Now there is a possibility that the fight will not happen, at least not in September.

Dmitry Bivol, left, rejoices immediately after defeating four-belt champion Canelo Álvarez on Saturday.

Dmitry Bivol, left, rejoices immediately after defeating four-belt champion Canelo Álvarez on Saturday.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Dmitry Bivol celebrates after the victory by unanimous decision on Saturday night.

Dmitry Bivol celebrates after the victory by unanimous decision on Saturday night.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

“Thank you, Eddie Hearn,” said Bivol, referring to the promoter of Álvarez. “Sorry if I broke your plans with Gennadiy Golovkin, maybe.”

Instead, a rematch is possible, perhaps for that September date. Alvarez said he wants one.

“It doesn’t end like this,” he said.

Bivol said he would give Alvarez another chance.

“No problem,” Bivol said. “Let’s talk about one.”

The two fighters took the ring after a disappointing undercard punctuated by a tedious Montana Love win over crowd favorite Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela, a native of Jalisco, Mexico.

Whistles filled the arena for Bivol’s entrance. The Russian was underestimated for his walk in the ring. His opponent is not.

Álvarez emerged from the tunnel onto a platform which raised him for all to see. Fireworks and smoke spread around him. He raised his fist as a mariachi played “Rocky”. He wore pink Dolce & Gabbana dresses and went into the ring with a group of folkloric dancers behind him.

Dmitry Bivol, left, punches Canelo Álvarez during their light heavyweight bout on Saturday.

Dmitry Bivol, left, punches Canelo Álvarez during their light heavyweight bout on Saturday.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Canelo Álvarez reacts after Saturday night's defeat to Dmitry Bivol.

Canelo Álvarez reacts after Saturday night’s defeat to Dmitry Bivol.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

A Mexican flag was waved in the ring. Dozens of others were scattered among the crowd. In the other corner there was no trace of Bivol’s Russian past. His flag did not appear. His national anthem was not played.

Bivol, despite being the champion, was presented first. In the introduction, the ring announcer said that Bivol was fighting outside Indio and did not mention St. Petersburg, his hometown. The cancellation was planned: The WBA in March agreed to ban anything Russian, except fighters, from its events during the Russian war in Ukraine.

However, Bivol was an afterthought. The event was about Álvarez fighting over the Cinco de Mayo weekend for the first time in three years.

It was the headliner. The night had to be about him. It was about being overwhelmed from start to finish.

Álvarez was aggressive in the beginning but seemed to tire by the middle of the round. Bivol remained in control. Calm and cold, he didn’t give in. He landed 152 punches against Álvarez’s 84. He connected with 46 shots while Álvarez hit him with just 10. Power shots were 106 to 74. Bivol said Álvarez injured him, but only his left arm, as he expected seeing previous fights of his opponent.

It was a complete victory, a victory that almost everyone present did not expect. What should have been a Mexican holiday has become a shocking disappointment.

“Feliz Cinco de Mayo, Mexican fans!” Bivol said, addressing the crowd in the ring. “I am happy to have shown that I am the best today”.