The knock on Dmitry Bivol of late has been that he doesn’t kick it into second gear in fights that he’s comfortably winning with intent to score a knockout and convincing victory.
The undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion has scored six consecutive unanimous decisions in mostly one-sided matchups over the last four years.
The last time Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) scored a stoppage win was in 2018 when he secured a 12th round TKO against Sullivan Barrera. As Bivol’s competition has stiffened – he’s also decisioned Jean Pascal and Joe Smith Jr. in that stretch – so has his fighting style, as the Russian has primarily leaned on a lethal jab to fend off his foes.
Bivol has leveraged his status as a champion to strike the interest of undisputed super middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez, as the Mexican star looks to win a second light heavyweight title when the two meet May 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 31-year-old Bivol knows that he can’t follow the same blueprint against Alvarez that has worked against others.
“Of course, this is a fight against the best fighter in the world. And you (have to) use everything and you have to risk every time when you see it — not sometimes, every time. When you see it you have to (take) the risk,” Bivol told Marcos Villegas of FightHub TV.
“In this fight I will of course (take) more risks because the opponent is better. He moved forward, this is my chance to show all people my skills and if I want to show my skills I have to take the risks.”
The 2019 and 2021 fighter of the year Alvarez has seemingly gained more power since he started crusading at 168 and 175 pounds full-time beginning in 2018. Alvarez has knocked out five out of his last seven opponents in those weight classes.
“Of course he has good power, he has good skills, but most people think about him like he’s untouchable or he’s unstoppable, or he has enough power to beat super heavyweights,” said Bivol. “Sometimes it’s funny to hear about him from people. First of all, he’s a good fighter but he’s a man and he had a loss and draw — it means if you believe in your skills, if you’re a good boxer you could make him one more loss.”
Bivol — who had 283 career amateur fights before turning pro in 2014 — hasn’t demonstrated his power too much of late, but he’s looking to change that should Alvarez provide favorable opportunities.
“Of course I have good power because I’m light heavyweight and I have 19 wins, and I have the power. But I didn’t use it every time, I don’t use it every time. If I see I could punch harder, I use my power, but most of the fight I like boxing more, and looking to use my skills and looking to hit the big punch,” said Bivol.
“Of course I will use every good side, the power, speed, movement — everything, I should use (to beat Canelo). If I see I could hit him harder, I will do it.
“I believe in my skills and my team believes in me. I just believe I can do it. Why not? I’m a champion in the light heavyweight division. He’s from another division. I just believe in my skills.