LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez, six months after becoming the first fighter of the four-belt era to stand as undisputed super-middleweight champion, casts his attention to a light-heavyweight sweep Saturday night.
Meeting Russia’s unbeaten World Boxing Association champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), Mexico’s Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) returns to the 175-pound division after previously claiming a World Boxing Organization belt by knocking out veteran Sergey Kovalev, also of Russia, in 2019.
Bivol offers a more problematic challenge since he’s 31 – five years younger than Kovalev – wields a wicked jab and could out-weigh Alvarez by around 15 pounds following their post-weigh-in rehydration.
While four-division champion Alvarez has already agreed to take a trilogy bout in victory against his bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin in September, he’s angling to meet next month’s three-belt light-heavyweight unification winner between Russia’s Artur Beterbiev and New York’s Joe Smith Jr. next year.
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USA TODAY Sports is ringside at T-Mobile Arena for the DAZN pay-per-view card, and will provide live round-by-round coverage of Alvarez-Bivol here with updates of the undercard bouts.
The main event is expected to start by 11 p.m. ET, with Tipico Sportsbook setting Alvarez as a -600 favorite while the over/under on rounds fought is 10.5, with the over standing as a -280 favorite.
In the pay-per-view opener, Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (24-0-1, 19 KOs) delivered a massive left hand to the face, knocking out Scott Alexander 1 minute, 54 seconds into the first round. It was Zhang’s fourth punch.
Lightweight Marc Castro repeatedly found Puerto Rico’s Pedro Vicente with right hands, cruising to a victory by three unanimous-decision scores of 60-54, improving to 7-0.
In a meeting of main-event stablemates, Bivol’s Indio, Calif.-based gym partner Shakhram Giyasov rode three knockdowns of Christian Gomez to win a unanimous decision by scores of 99-88, 99-88, 98-89.
Starting deliberately, Giyasov (13-0) first dropped Gomez in the fourth round with a left hook to the head. Gomez, who trains alongside Alvarez in San Diego, rallied with some scoring blows in the fifth and sixth.
Giyasov then planted a right hand to the chin, dropping Gomez again in the seventh before Gomez again recovered rapidly, pressuring with a face shot that forced Giyasov to hold his foe’s waist in a bid to recover.
In the 10th, a Giyasov combination punctuated by a right uppercut sent Gomez (22-3-1) to the canvas once more, clinching the outcome.