Dmitry Bivol cut a forlorn figure in the dressing room on Saturday night as his face lit up the massive screens at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The WBA light-heavyweight champion made his way to the ring to boos from the crowd due to a war that rages in Ukraine and has nothing to do with him whatsoever.
Unaffected by the crowd, Bivol chose a neutral anthem to make his ring walk as the massive pro-Mexico fans made their feelings clear about what side they were on.
No Russian anthem, no flag, and strangely billed from Indio, California, Bivol had no identity despite his status as a world ruler.
Once inside the ring, it was Canelo’s turn. The Pound for Pound king made his entrance to a fanfare unseen before and directly due to his continued involvement with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN.
It was very un-Canelo-like and whiffed of far too much razzmatazz.
But once the bell went, within seconds, any advantages Canelo Alvarez had were gone. Two Bivol jabs in, and it was clear this would be a very different fight for the planet’s top star.
Canelo struggled to get inside the long reach of the European’s solid frame. It was an uphill battle from the very start.
Uppercuts seemed to be the game plan for Canelo, and he did land a couple of them. However, his work rate dropped as his frustration grew.
Even when Bivol was hitting gloves, he was still scoring through his superior activity. The champion pocketed round after round and built a healthy lead through eight sessions.
Bivol was 6-2 up on the WBN scorecard, and Canelo already needed a knockout to win. Canelo won only one of the final four rounds, and even that wasn’t clear.
The apparent outcome then put the judges in a position where they had to score almost the same to stave off accusations of bias towards the king of Cinco de Mayo.
DMITRY BIVOL SHOCK
All three officials came back 115-113 to shock and awe from those in the know who witnessed a masterclass by Bivol.
He knocks Canelo off the top of the P4P charts with the victory, ironically handing the honor to a Ukrainian in Oleksandr Usyk.
Moving into the top ten himself, Bivol is now the top light-heavyweight star on the planet and will be aiming for the winner of Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. for the undisputed title by the end of the year.
His triumph was a feat against the odds, a win over adversity, and a clear sign that weight matters to even the most talented fighters of their generation.
Canelo has a fallback in a planned trilogy with Gennadiy Golovkin that can double up as a first undisputed championship defense. The merchandise he sold pre-fight, which all donned the ‘Undisputed’ tagline, still stands despite the loss.
The third GGG fight still holds meaning and will give Canelo the chance to redeem himself in Nevada this September.
As for Dmitry Bivol, boxing fans should take their hats off to a boxer who put on a superb performance in challenging circumstances.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Furthermore, follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.