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Dmitry Bivol stuns Canelo Alvarez to defend WBA light-heavyweight title

Bivol stuns Canelo to defend light-heavyweight crown
© Reuters
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez fails in his bid to win a light-heavyweight belt for a second time, suffering a unanimous points win to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in Las Vegas.

WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol has inflicted just the second defeat of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's career, deservedly prevailing on points in Las Vegas.

Despite the credentials of the undefeated Russian fighter, there was somewhat of an assumption among some quarters that Canelo - the multiple-weight world champion and unanimous top dog at super-middleweight - would add another belt to his collection and set up a trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin.

However, Bivol upset the applecart and punched the Mexican's third date with his Kazakh rival off the table as each judge gave him a 115-113 win.

The scorecards showed that the 31-year-old, now unbeaten in 20 fights, required the final round to secure potentially a legacy-defining triumph, but he and many will argue that he was a more conclusive victor.

While Canelo took the majority of the early rounds, the size difference gradually proved too much, the odds-on favourite fading as Bivol only looked to be getting stronger.

Although there was never a particular time when Canelo appeared to be in danger of being stopped, his power and physicality was largely ineffective towards the back end of the fight having frequently being out-jabbed by his rangier opponent.

Speaking after the fight, Bivol said: "I'm glad I proved myself, I'm the best in my division and I keep this belt. He's a great champion, I respect him and all his team.

"If you don't believe in yourself what do you do? You achieve nothing. I believe and my team believed in me. I felt his power. You can see on my arm, he beat my arm up but not my head. That's better."

In the build-up to the contest, promoter Eddie Hearn has mentioned that a rematch was an inevitably should Canelo suffer defeat, but the sport's pound-for-pound fighter - arguably former on the back of this defeat - is unlikely to commit to a September date until contemplating his options.

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