Paulie Malignaggi says Canelo Alvarez shouldn’t bother taking the rematch with Dmitry Bivol because he doesn’t have the ability to increase the tempo needed for him to defeat the WBA light heavyweight champion.
Paulie predicted ahead of time that Bivol would do well but get robbed by the judges. While judges did score the fight in an odd way, turning in an identical set of 115-113 scores that made no sense, they at least didn’t rob Bivol.
Malignaggi notes that even when Canelo (57-2-2, 39 KOs) was younger and fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr, he couldn’t increase his punch output enough to win.
At this point, Canelo doesn’t have it in him to raise his output, so it’s a bad idea for him to fight Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs).
Canelo’s punch output has gotten lower in the last couple of years after moving up to 168, and he loads up with virtually everything he throws at this stage of his career.
He doesn’t throw jabs and swings for the fences, which tires him out faster.
“I expected Bivol to put up a good fight and maybe get robbed,” said Paulie Malignaggi to iFL TV about last Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol fight in Las Vegas.
“As a matter of fact, I initially said that it would be a controversial decision [for Canelo] because you can’t predict the judges. You can predict a fight, but you can’t predict the judges.
“So, I predicted that Bivol would do well and get robbed. I called it a ‘controversial decision’ because you have to be PC [politically correct] these days. You can’t just say an outright robbery, you know?
“Sure enough, it almost was. They [the judges] had it a lot closer than it should have been, but ultimately the right guy got the decision. Bivol is a tremendous fighter.
“Everybody knows what I feel about Eastern European fighters. I think they’re an ascending group in the sport, and they’re tough to deal with from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint.
“That’s why guys like Bivol and Golovkin were tough on Canelo too. People are going to mention [Sergey] Kovalev, but Kovalev was mentally checked out [by that point in his career]. You could see that he didn’t fight with the same ‘Krusher] mentality in the Canelo fight.
“Nonetheless, it’s hard to convince an Eastern European fighter that he doesn’t belong in the fight. He’s going to fight you all the way through.
“You can beat him, but he’s going to fight you all the way through, whereas a lot of Western fighters will sort of mentally fold a little bit, even though they’re talented.
“You sort of saw that with Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant when they fought Canelo. Good fighters, they had some talent but sort of mentally gave into him even before the fight was over. You could kind of tell where it was going. You could tell something in their mentality changed.
“Bivol actually increased in confidence as the fight wore on and was determined to boss it, and he sure did. What he could have done differently was something I’ve never seen him do, which was to fight at a higher pace,” said Malignaggi when asked what Canelo could have done differently to defeat Bivol.
“That was one thing I questioned before the fight. I actually said this in several different prediction segments. I mentioned that same thing before the fight where I said, ‘I don’t know if Canelo will be able to raise his tempo if Bivol raises his tempo.’
“Bivol tends to fight at a much higher tempo and pace. I said it even on my own channel. It was kind of the difference in the fight. So, what could he have done to fight at a faster pace, but I don’t know that Canelo has that in him.
I was thinking at first that he’s made too much money, and he doesn’t want to be uncomfortable. He’s kind of created a legacy for himself, and when he has to raise his level to be in an uncomfortable situation when you’re already that comfortable, it’s kind of hard to get yourself there.
“Then I thought, he [Canelo] didn’t even do that in the Mayweather fight, and he was young in the Mayweather fight. He also didn’t push. He was outclassed in experience, but he never pushed the envelope to say, ‘Let me put myself in harm’s way to try and go get the win.’
“Maybe it’s not in his personality where he has got sort of dig in to see what he’s got to do if he’s going to fight the rematch. I personally don’t think he should do the rematch. I think he should go for the third Golovkin fight and then reassess everything.
“The Canelo fanboys are going to tell me that he did dig in when he fought Golovkin the second fight. He [Canelo] came forward in the second fight, but his output didn’t change. He was very in-tight, and he came forward.
“So, he changed that aggressiveness, but you’ve got to come and get off [throw a lot of punches]. Bivol, unlike Golovkin, doesn’t sit on all of his punches, which means he can get off more punches.
“That means you’ve got to up your work rate if you’re going to win those rounds. It’s not easy to do. Personally, I don’t think it’s the best match-up, and plus, he’s [Canelo] not in the best position where he’s at his best weight class.
“If you come to 168 and you make Bivol come down there, maybe it’s more of a talking point. You can fight for the undisputed title. Now the talking point is it’s at Canelo’s best weight, and does Bivol struggle to make weight?
“You’ve got a bunch of talking points that make the fight interesting, even though I don’t think anything changes in the fight. At 168, you’ve got guys more his [Canelo] size. I do want to give Canelo credit.
“He could have someone like [WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga] Makabu, who is bigger but more weak boxing-wise than Bivol, but he chose to go to Bivol.
“You’ve got to give that credit because when you’re Canelo, you can kind of pick & choose where you want to go, right?
“When you keep putting yourself in these weight classes where you’re jumping up and putting yourself in these situations, you always have a little bit of an out in case you get beat.
“If you get beaten in your own weight class, you have less outs. But he [Canelo] could have still gone after Makabu in going up to a higher weight class, who, in my opinion, would have been a weaker opponent, even if he was bigger.
“He chose to go after Bivol, so he did test himself a little bit more. I think the [Oleksandr] Usyk conversation is out of the question. I thought that was absolutely asinine when they were even bringing that up.
“Those conversations happen every fight week for a Canelo fight. You’re already talking about the next guy in the week of a fight, I remember.
“I remember I was there the week he fought Caleb Plant, and they were discussing other options for him. So this is not something new. When Canelo fights, the topic of conversation goes everywhere,” Malignaggi.