My name is James Allen and I’m a Social Media Executive at William Hill. I’m a huge boxing fan so I’m previewing the big fight between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Dmitry Bivol.

Watching my dad’s old videos of Chris Eubank, Lennox Lewis and Roberto Duran sparked my love of boxing, and right now it’s a great time to follow the sport. Last month we saw Errol Spence Jr unify the welterweight division, Tyson Fury retain his heavyweight titles on his UK homecoming and a first women’s fight to headline at Madison Square Garden as Katie Taylor beat Amanda Serrano.

This month belongs to Canelo Alvarez. He steps back up to light heavyweight to try and win a 17th world title against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, in what could prove to be a real test for the pound-for-pound king.

Here’s how I see the fight going in Las Vegas.

The case for Bivol

In my opinion, Dmitry Bivol represents the toughest test for Canelo since Gennady Golovkin. The WBA champion is a strong, natural light heavyweight with a typical Eastern European style. He does the fundamentals very well. He has excellent footwork and a ramrod jab that keeps his opponents occupied before he follows it up with combinations. His jab is so effective, in fact, that he is one of the most proficient jabbers in boxing. According to CompuBox he lands an average of 9.7 jabs per round, second only to Golovkin. This bodes well for the Russian as Canelo has shown susceptability to a strong consistent jab, especially against Golovkin, who landed a total of 118 jabs in their second fight.

Despite being the naturally bigger man, Bivol needs to rely on his technical boxing ability rather his physical attributes if he wishes to come out on top. If he relies on his size and strength to beat Canelo, then that could play straight into the Mexican’s hands. Canelo is excellent at fighting on the inside and possesses enough power, even in this weight class, to seriously trouble Bivol, so relying on his physical size to overcome Canelo would be foolish. Instead, Bivol should use his excellent jab and straight shot combinations to keep his rival at range. If Canelo does lead off, then Bivol possesses all the skills to evade him and counterpunch. If he can manage to keep Canelo at bay then I wouldn’t be surprised if Bivol got the win by decision.

The case for Canelo

Canelo is, in my view, the best fighter on the planet. After ploughing through every champion in the super middleweight division in the space of 12 months, he now moves up to light heavyweight. He has fought at this level once before, when he beat Sergey Kovalev for the WBA title in 2019. But Bivol poses a much more of a threat. Kovalev was past his best and still managed to cause the Mexican problems before he was stopped in the 11th round. Bivol, meanwhile, is at the peak of his powers at 31 and is undefeated in a 19-fight career.

To beat Bivol, Canelo needs to do what he does best. Educated pressure. He is a master at cutting off the ring and letting his hands go when the opportunity arises. He marches forward in his defensive shell and forces his opponents to lead off, using his superior head movement to slip and counter. This approach has worked well for him throughout his career, especially against taller men, such as Callum Smith and Kovalev. He also proved, with his knockout win over Kovalev, that he can carry his power up to 175lbs and I would argue that Canelo is the more dangerous power puncher in this fight. If Canelo can use his fantastic head movement and defensive skills to get inside Bivol’s jab, then I believe he may be able to get a stoppage in the mid-to-late rounds.

My verdict

This is a tough one to pick. Bivol possesses the skills to give Canelo problems but it’s nothing the Mexican hasn’t faced before. I think it will be close through the early rounds, before Canelo takes control and stops Bivol between rounds 10 and 12.

This article was written by an employee of William Hill but doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of William Hill LTD