By Brian Webbe
Joe Smith Jr. says he visualized the Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol fight in his head beforehand and wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the contest.
Smith notes that Canelo Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) had fought a lot of aggressive fighters in his career that came directly to him and were there to be hit.
WBA light heavyweight champion Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) used movement, jabbing, and combination punching to outwork Canelo.
It was predictable going into the fight that Canelo would have problems with the mobility of Bivol. We’d seen his recent opponents, Caleb Plant & Billy Joe Saunders, give him fits with the little bit of movement that showed in their fights against him.
The only reason Canelo beat those two champions is that they got tired and stood in front of him. When Bivol did stand in front of Canelo, he used a tight guard to pick off his shots.
“I thought Bivol had a great chance to win the fight just with their styles,” Smith Jr. said to DAZN about his fight with Canelo.
“Canelo is used to facing aggressive guys, constantly trying to knock him out and coming forward. Bivol is not that kind of guy; he’s going to pick his shots and move; I pictured the fight the way it went.”
It’s fair to say that Canelo made a foolish mistake by targeting Bivol’s left bicep with his punches, throwing many shots to that arm, hoping to weaken it.
If Canelo had directed those punches to the head of Bivol instead of his arm, he might have hurt him. He probably thought he was dealing with another Callum Smith type of fighter, and that was a mistake.
Bivol is light years ahead of Callum in the talent department, and he was never going to be beaten by Canelo’s scatter-brained plan of targeting his bicep.
Hopefully, Canelo learns a lesson from this loss and doesn’t attempt the same tactic in a rematch with Bivol or in his fights against David Benavidez and Jermall Charlo.
“I believe at this point I’m ready to face the best; I believe I am one of the best and can beat a lot of the best,” said Smith.
Joe Smith is facing one of the best next months in his unification fight against IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) on June 18th at Madison Square Garden in New York.
While Smith has believed for some time that he can beat Beterbiev, it’s easier said than done. Beterbiev might prove a lot better than Smith envisioned.
“I’m always prepared to go 12 rounds, but I can get him out of there early; that’s one thing I want to do. I don’t want to go 12 rounds,” said Smith about his fight with Beterbiev on June 18th.