Canelo confident ahead of light heavyweight fight with Bivol | Sports News


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Saul “Canelo” Álvarez remains supremely confident as he climbs back up to the heaviest weight of his career for another tough challenge.

Álvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is favored to win the WBA 175-pound title from undefeated Dmitry Bivol on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

The pound-for-pound superstar has fought at light heavyweight only once before in his career, knocking out a former Sergey Kovalev at the end of 2019. With victories over virtually every established opponent at super middleweight, the division in which he became undisputed champion last year, Álvarez is eager to take on the bigger and tidier Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) to add another accomplishment to his overflowing collection.

“I like this kind of challenge, because I want to write history,” Álvarez said. “That kind of challenge is going to put me at the top of boxing history. I feel alive when I have that kind of challenge. I respect Dmitry Bivol’s boxing talent, but this is my moment. J I feel like I’m at my peak. I appreciate this kind of moment.

Bivol presents a much tougher challenge than Kovalev did for Canelo. The Kyrgyzstan-born Russian champion has held a version of his belt since May 2016, making multiple title defenses against a litany of top 175-pounders.

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Bivol has never fought an opponent of Álvarez’s caliber, but he relishes the lucrative opportunity to test his skills against arguably the most accomplished active fighter in the world.

“I’m really happy to have had this opportunity,” Bivol said through a translator. “I asked my team for many years to fight the best guys, and now I have this fight. I had a long journey to get here, and now I just want to do my job.

Bivol is several inches taller than Álvarez, and his superior reach will present challenges for Canelo to overcome. Álvarez has excelled against bigger opponents before, most recently in his patient and systematic dismantling of Caleb Plant last November to become the first undisputed world super middleweight champion.

Bivol could use his size and reach, combined with his excellent technical skills and effective jab, to keep Álvarez at bay, perhaps even wearing down the enduring star. Álvarez was sometimes slowed down by opponents with power shots – but other than Floyd Mayweather, no opponent was able to turn that success into victory.

Álvarez says he sees similarities between Bivol and Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight king who fought Canelo to a disputed draw and a narrow victory for Álvarez in their first two fights. Álvarez and Golovkin are expected to meet again later this year.

But first, Álvarez wants to solve another puzzle presented by an opponent that looks like a significant challenge on paper – even though anyone who has watched Álvarez knows he always handles those challenges brilliantly.

“The only thing I want is to bring a really good fight,” Álvarez said. “He’s very confident and I’m very confident.”

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