WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol was given 2022 Fighter of the Year by ESPN for his victories over superstar Canelo Alvarez and former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) ran away with the award with his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) and his equally dominant win over Zurdo Ramirez.
Although the judges scored the Canelo-Bivol fight closely at 115–13 x 3, the fight appeared to be a much wider score. Many boxing fans had Bivol winning 118-110 and 119-109.
The combination punching by Bivol proved to be the key factor in his win over Canelo, as he outworked the superstar. It wasn’t a case of Bivol imposing his size advantage over Alvarez.
He beat Canelo by outboxing and outworking him. Bivol showed skills that Canelo would die for him in that fight and was never close for an instant.
“Bivol is the slam-dunk choice. As a 4-1 underdog, Bivol routed the consensus pound-for-pound king, Canelo Alvarez,” said Mike Coppinger of ESPN about WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol being named Fighter of the Year for ESPN.
“In the win over Alvarez, Bivol often stood right in front of the Mexican and delivered five- and six-punch combinations.
“Bivol punctuated his breakout campaign with an equally lopsided victory over Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez.”
Bivol outboxed the taller, heavier, previously unbeaten 6’3″ Zurdo Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs), beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision last November in Abu Dhabi. The scores were 117-111, 117-111, and 118-110.
Ramirez was at least competitive with Bivol at times, and that it somewhat interesting, but it was still very one-sided.
Next year, Bivol will have a chance of becoming a two-time Fighter of the Year if he can defeat IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and David Benavidez.
ESPN’s runner-up for Fighter of the Year for 2022 is undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney for his two wins over former unified champion George Kambosos Jr.
Haney dominated Kambosos, beating him soundly in both fights. Devin wanted to move on and face Vasyl Lomachenko and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, but he was stuck fighting Kambosos again because he had a rematch clause in their contract from their first fight.
Obviously, Haney beating Kambosos Jr twice paled in comparison to Bivol’s wins over Canelo and Zurdo Ramirez.
Fighters that were also in the running for Fighter of the Year were Naoya Inoue and Jessie ‘Bam Bam’ Rodriguez.