Tony Bellew attributes Canelo Alvarez’s one-sided loss to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol to him having an “off night,” and he believes he’ll make things right by defeating him in their rematch.
Bellew surprisingly believes that the only reason Canelo lost to Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) is that he “underperformed” when the two fought earlier this month on May 7th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
To be sure, Canelo, 31, looked exhausted after three rounds, but for him, that’s been the norm for his last two fights prior against Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders. He was tired early in both of those fights by the midpoint.
Canelo (57-2-2, 39 KOs) still hasn’t activated his rematch clause in the contract to let fans know he wants to fight Bivol again.
The more time that goes by without Canelo triggering his rematch clause, you have to believe that he doesn’t fancy the idea of getting back in there with the unbeaten Bivol.
If Canelo had the self-belief that he could win the rematch against Bivol, you would have thought that the would have triggered the rematch clause the day after his loss.
Instead, here we are two weeks past the May 7th fight, and Canelo hasn’t activated the rematch clause he had in the contract. That can only mean one thing. Canelo doesn’t believe he can win.
Bellew: Canelo had off night
“Two fights previous to the Bivol fight, Craig Richards has a draw on his record against a guy that was 11-1 [Chad Sugden],” said Tony Bellew to iFL TV.
“Absolutely ridiculous,” said Bellew when asked if fans have been overly critical of Canelo about his loss to Bivol. “The guy has been on an amazing win streak in various weight classes for years. He’s just blitzed, everyone.
“Now, he’s had one off night, and he’s just not that good, is he? It’s unbelievable. It’s such a fickle sport. He’s [Canelo] an amazing fighter. Don’t knock him. He’s a freaky talented individual. He had an off night.
“He hasn’t come up and made any excuses. He hasn’t said he had injuries, which he clearly had in the build-up. But he hasn’t made any excuses. He just lost to the better man. He goes up in my estimation.
“He’s a human and has off nights. He has great days and bad days. He’s just not performed on the night, and it may be the style thing he struggles with Bivol.
“He’s someone that is tactically very aware on his feet and a good judge of distance. He has enough pop on his punches to make him [Canelo] think twice about walking in. But I actually think he beats Bivol in a rematch, I really do. I just think he had an off night.”
Bellew sounds like someone that hasn’t watched the Canelo vs. Bivol fight because those who have seen it don’t believe the Mexican star has any chance of winning the rematch.
Bivol was brilliant
“I think he was brilliant as well because he used his attributes perfectly,” said Bellew about Bivol. “But I’ve seen Canelo hit by harder punches. Sergey Kovalev is a bigger puncher than Dmitry Bivol. I’m sorry.
“Sergey Kovalev is more dangerous than Dmitry Bivol, but Canelo found a way that night, even at times, he was being outboxed by Kovalev. He found a way. I think if he’s on-song and on point, I think he’ll find a way against Bivol.
“I just look at the styles, and how they match up, and watching the fight, I just didn’t think Canelo was on it. I think he thought this was going to be an easier fight than it is and didn’t perform. At the same time, Bivol overestimated this guy and thought he was going to be so much harder to hit. He didn’t think he was going to get a reaction.
“When you see someone like Canelo Alvarez getting nailed on the button, bang, flush with a right hand from a puncher like Gennadiy Golovkin, and he just takes it, you’re thinking, ‘I’m not going to hit. I’m not going to put a dent; I’m not going to knock him out. I’m just going to have to figure it out as it goes along.
“When he starts getting reactions and stopping him in his tracks, Bivol is kind of taken aback, and you see it in the fight. He’s getting a reaction, he’s knocking his head back, and he’s not pressing for a knockout. He’s like, ‘I’m happy I’m scoring, I’m picking up points, and I’m winning this fight.’
“Styles make fights, and they will always change. What will not change is my opinion of Canelo Alvarez as a fighter. He’s a freak, an unbelievable talent. A once-in-a-generation lifetime fighter who has traveled through the weight classes seemingly. He’s flowed through them. Now he’s come up with a bit of a problem, but it’s one that he can solve,” said Bellew.
“It’s going to have to be a thunderous puncher to get rid of Canelo Alvarez, I think when he’s on form when he’s at his very best,” said Bellew. “People can take away from that what they want, but I don’t believe he was at his very best against Dmitry Bivol.
“Craig Richards has that because he underperforms when he goes into the fight,” Bellew continued. “Dmitry Bivol underperformed when he went into his fight with him.
“Canelo Alvarez then underperforms when he goes in with Dmitry Bivol. Fighters have off nights. This is boxing, and it’s how it goes.
“I just believe Canelo Alvarez had an off night against Dmitry Bivol. I thought Dmitry Bivol was brilliant, but then when Dmitry Bivol went in with Craig Richards. I thought Craig Richards was brilliant, and Dmitry Bivol had an off night.
“Fighters do have off nights. It’s not a bad thing. I’m not degrading the fighter. I’m not saying anything less of him, but you usually find out where a fighter is at when they face each other, especially in a fight like this [Craig Richards vs. Joshua Buatsi], where no one is underestimating each other in this fight.
“If anything, they’re both overestimating each other. They’re both expecting the very best of each other,” said Bellew.