Dmitry Bivol appreciated Alvarez’s strategy – it just wasn’t enough to deter him from victory.

Bivol, the WBA 175-pound titlist, scored a minor upset last Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, when he defeated Canelo Alvarez by unanimous decision in their 12-round title bout, with all three judges scoring the bout 115-113 in favor of the Russian champion.

Alvarez did the bulk of his damage on Bivol’s left arm, particularly around the biceps area, which was swollen. The strategy hearkened back to Alvarez’s fight against Callum Smith in their 168-pound title bout in 2020. Alvarez pounded Smith’s left arm round after round until it reportedly resulted in a detached biceps.

Unlike Smith, however, Bivol said while his arm did indeed feel sore, it was nothing that he could not shake off. Presumably, Bivol would happily absorb a punch on the arm than on the chin on any given occasion.

“It’s a good trick, yeah, to hit your arm, but you cannot knock your arm out,” Bivol told IFL TV. “It doesn’t give you [points]. It hurts, but not too much. I can throw my jab today. Of course it’s a little bit hard, but I can throw my jab.”

Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) maintained his distance and fired off his jab, while employing a tight guard around which Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) was largely unable to find his usual openings. Bivol’s movement and rapid-fire combinations gave the normally dominant fighter some fits.

Bivol said his key strategy was to keep Alvarez, who is still the undisputed champion at 168 pounds, guessing throughout the entire fight.  

“I try to be not predictable,” Bivol said. “I try to [make him] not read me. He comes [to] me at the ropes, I wouldn’t go to him. I wouldn’t be predictable.

“Sometimes when he beat me, I try to give him punch back because he didn’t expect that. It helps to not be [readable].”