Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez suffered a shock defeat to Dmitry Bivol in their light heavyweight title clash in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Bivol secured a win by unanimous decision, successfully defending his WBA crown and handing Alvarez only the second loss of his career nine years on from his first at the hands of Floyd Mayweather.
All three judges scored the fight 115-113 in Bivol’s favor at the end of 12 rounds. His record now improves to 20 wins from 20 fights, while Alvarez – widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world before the bout – slips to 57-2-2.
“I’m glad I proved myself today, I’m the best in my division and I keep this belt,” Bivol said after the win. “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.”
Alvarez, the overwhelming pre-fight favourite, was rarely able to find a way through Bivol’s defensive guard as the Russian put on a disciplined display.
Bivol regularly used his jab to keep Alvarez on his heels, unloading flurries of punches to redden the smaller man’s face and convince the judges to award him the fight.
Alvarez has previously won at light heavyweight, defeating Sergey Kovalev by knockout to win the WBO title in 2019, but Bivol proved too much for the Mexican fighter to overcome.
“You have to accept it, it’s boxing,” Alvarez said of the loss. “He’s a great champion. Sometimes in boxing you win and lose and I’m not giving excuses. I lost today and he won.”
Alvarez stressed he wanted the pair to fight again, adding: “Of course I do. This doesn’t end like this.”
Bivol, too, is keen to face off once more. “Let’s talk about a rematch,” he said. “I wanted this fight because I wanted to get the opportunity and I appreciate this opportunity.
“I’m ready for a rematch, I just want to be treated as the champion now.”