Who will win Canelo Álvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol? Experts offer their predictions

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Canelo Alvarez, center left, and Dmitry Bivol, center right, pose next to promoter Eddie Hearn, center, during a ceremonial weigh-in for their Saturday boxing match, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Canelo Álvarez, center left, and Dmitry Bivol face off next to promoter Eddie Hearn during a ceremonial weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

A wide range of boxing experts explain who they think will the Canelo Álvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol fight Saturday night in Las Vegas.

"Dmitry Bivol is a legitimate light-heavyweight in his prime with good boxing skills and a slightly awkward style. But Canelo Álvarez is a master at breaking down styles and finding a way to win. I think Bivol fights conservatively and doesn’t give Álvarez a lot of openings. It won’t be the most compelling fight, but I see Álvarez outworking him and winning a unanimous decision."

— Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports boxing and MMA columnist

"There are many reasons to be intrigued by this fight. To start with, I would not agree with some of the far-flung criticism of Canelo Álvarez's whirlwind 2021, in which he obtained the first-ever undisputed super middleweight title. I've seen his opposition in those four fights described as bums, and that's a big-time stretch. That said, and with that in mind, it's totally fair to consider Dmitry Bivol a more dangerous opponent than anyone Álvarez faced last year. For one, he seems pretty dangerous, he's undefeated and, key point, he's bigger than Canelo. That could present all sorts of strategic adjustments, none of which will present an easy answer until fight night. I think back to Manny Pacquiao versus Antonio Margarito often when I think of fighters moving up in weight. Pacquiao was undoubtedly impressive that night. But the jump, even with the catchweight, left quite a mark on him as well. There's always a point of, 'How high is too high? How big is too big?' I imagine Álvarez's management sees a lighter-punching light-heavyweight in Bivol — 11 KOs in 19 victories, and, importantly, the last six by decision. They see this as a smart foray back into the light-heavyweight division against a fighter who's in his prime and who potentially presents a significant victory to add to boxing's most impressive resume. But with four fights [by Álvarez] in 12 months that took place from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, the toll those potentially took on his energy and focus, the jump in weight, the game opponent and everything combined, there seems to be a real chance that this could go sideways for Canelo, too. That said, the bet here is Álvarez figures out another puzzle and wins by decision, setting up a light-heavyweight run after first facing Gennadiy Golovkin at 168 pounds later this fall."

— Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated senior writer

"Dmitry Bivol brings an extensive amateur background and quality victories to this 175-pound title defense, but he’s still inexperienced in comparison to Canelo Álvarez, who’s currently at the top of his game. I expect the bigger man to box aggressively and he might trouble Canelo with his educated jab and sneaky hook but he’ll also be open to Álvarez's accurate counter punches. Álvarez will use lead rights, upper-body movement, and feints to get in close to blast hooks to Bivol’s body during the first half of the bout, which should be evenly contested, but I expect the Mexican star to wear the WBA belt-holder down over the second half. Álvarez by unanimous decision."

— Doug Fischer, Ring Magazine editor-in-chief

Canelo Álvarez motions to the crowd during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday
Canelo Álvarez motions to the crowd during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

"Against Canelo Álvarez's speed and ever-evolving skill, I don’t see any logical path to victory for Dmitry Bivol — or for anybody but a few opponents in the world. Unless Álvarez somehow comes out looking sluggish at this weight, or unless Bivol has gifts we’ve yet to see, the only question is whether Bivol can make it to the final bell. I think he can do it. He’s handled the power of much bigger men, while his size advantage, reach and technical acumen can keep him out of the most perilous situations. Álvarez by one-sided decision."

— Greg Beacham, Associated Press sports writer

"The narrative heading into this bout is that Dmitry Bivol is Saul Álvarez's toughest opponent since Floyd Mayweather (2013) or Gennadiy Golovkin (2017-2018). If Canelo starts slow, he may find it hard negating Bivol's footwork, speed and jab, but eventually, I expect him to break through with his heavier shots, breaking him down with punches to the body and the head, and winning a late finish at best — or a comfortable decision at worst. The way this event is set up, perhaps expect Golovkin ringside, who may enter the ring when the result is announced to help sell the expected trilogy bout in September."

— Alan Dawson, Business Insider combat sports correspondent

"You can make an argument that Dmitry Bivol might be Canelo Álvarez's toughest opponent. Even if unknown to a broader audience, Bivol is naturally bigger, highly skilled and patient. It’s because of the latter that I don’t expect this fight to be in any of the fight-of-the-year discussions. Álvarez will take his time to figure out Bivol, then, once he has, by the fourth or fifth round, he’ll increase his pressure. Álvarez wins by majority decision, a 116-112 sort of score."

— Roberto José Andrade Franco, ESPN sportswriter

Dmitry Bivol poses during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas.
Dmitry Bivol poses during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

"Dmitry Bivol represents Canelo Álvarez's toughest test since Gennadiy Golovkin — undefeated, in his prime, with the kind of snapping jab and fleet feet that could trouble the pound-for-pound king. But Álvarez too is at his apex and should have Bivol figured out after the first couple of rounds. The best bodywork in boxing leads to the first loss of Bivol’s career. Álvarez by 11th-round stoppage."

— Sam Gordon, Las Vegas Review-Journal sports reporter

"We’ve seen a variation of this fight before. Canelo Álvarez takes on a larger but less skilled opponent. He takes a couple of rounds to figure out how to get inside. He starts chopping down the opponent. That’s what he did against Sergey Kovalev. That’s what he did against Billy Joe Saunders. That’s what he did against Caleb Plant. And that’s what he’ll do against Dmitry Bivol. The Russian is a decent fighter with good balance and a solid jab but doesn’t move well enough to be able to avoid Álvarez for 12 rounds. What Bivol does have is a 6-foot frame that will give him a four-plus-inch height advantage and sturdiness to be able to reach the final bell. Álvarez by lopsided decision."

— Dylan Hernández, L.A. Times sports columnist

"It’s been three years since Las Vegas hosted a marquee bout on Cinco de Mayo weekend. Canelo Álvarez was the Mexican star of the show at the time when he narrowly defeated Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena. This has become his weekend, and Saturday will be no different. Dimitry Bivol is undefeated. He’s bigger. He has the reach advantage. But Álvarez is the big favorite for a reason. He’s the more skilled fighter. He has the experience. He’ll have the crowd behind him against the Russian. He’ll solve Bivol by the middle rounds and finish the job. Álvarez by 10th-round TKO."

— Jorge Castillo, L.A. Times sports enterprise reporter

Canelo Álvarez motions to the crowd during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas
Canelo Álvarez motions to the crowd during a ceremonial boxing weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

"I have a bad feeling about this one — and by the bad feeling, I mean bad news for Canelo Álvarez. Dmitry Bivol is the defending champion in the 175-pound division and he is no Sergey Kovalev, the 37-year-old champion Álvarez defeated in 2019. Bivol has the experience, the same discipline as Álvarez and is in his prime. Bivol is strong and has a style that can frustrate Álvarez, especially with the amount of jabs he throws in every round. However, to beat Álvarez you need to outbox him. This is not easy because Álvarez is not only talented but a very intelligent fighter that can adapt during a fight. Álvarez has proven he can KO an opponent in 175, and even though he has a good chin, he has not taken a solid punch by someone like Bivol. I think we will see Canelo hurt for the first time in years, but I still see him winning this one by split decision, sparking a start of a new rivalry."

— Eduard Cauich, L.A. Times en Español reporter

"This is not a technical or tactical analysis. This is an explanation of why Canelo Álvarez already won this fight against Dmitry Bivol before facing him on Saturday. When Álvarez determines who his next opponent will be, he does so after thoroughly studying him. With that knowledge, Álvarez has two specs that he needs to check off to set a fight date — an opponent needs to have a belt to offer and be beatable. Álvarez manages his career today in that way. He’s the pilot of the ship. Bivol is not exciting. He is a monotonous fighter who likely will bring a boring fight. He does not present a real risk to Álvarez. The Mexican fighter should have no problem defeating him in the 10th round via knockout."

— Jad El Reda, L.A. Times en Español reporter

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.