The undefeated light-heavyweight champ handed Canelo his first loss since Floyd Mayweather outboxed him in 2013.
Canelo Alvarez is heading back to Mexico with the unfamiliar taste of defeat in his mouth.
Boxing’s biggest star was back in action Saturday night in Las Vegas, where he challenged the larger Dmitry Bivol for his WBA light heavyweight title. Despite being widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers alive today, Alvarez looked tired and frustrated for the bulk of his fight with the slicker, busier Russian champion, and clearly lost a unanimous decision after being outboxed for 12 rounds.
“He’s a great champion,” Canelo said after the stunning loss, his first since being beaten by Floyd Mayweather in 2013. “Sometimes in boxing, you win and sometimes you lose. I have no excuses. He won the fight.”
“He’s a really good fighter and he comes in and goes out,” the Mexican superstar added. “I also felt his power. I have no excuses. It was his style, [not the weight]. You win and you lose in this sport. That’s what happens.”
While Alvarez, who still holds a host of world titles at super middleweight, was classy in defeat, he protested the judges’ verdict later in the night — though he will be hard-pressed to find many people who scored the fight in his favor.
“I won the fight,” Alvarez said, rather unconvincingly, through his translator at the post-fight press conference. “I think perhaps, maybe, I lost four or five rounds. But I definitely didn’t lose the fight. I think I got a little bit tired towards the final rounds. But I felt good.
“I don’t feel like I lost the fight. Maybe some rounds. Maybe the weight was a slight issue. It made me not feel 100 percent during the fight.”
While Alvarez (57-2-2) is not used to losing, he’ll have an opportunity for redemption in the near future. Post-fight, the Mexican icon said he intended to exercise the rematch clause in his contract to force an immediate do-over with Bivol, who now stands at 20-0 as a pro.
As Bivol said in the ring afterwards, “Rematch? No problem.”
Bivol, landed considerably more clean punches than did Canelo, and caught many of Alvarez’s power shots on his gloves and arms, which left his left arm swollen and red after 12-rounds.
“He beat my arm up but not my head,” cracked Bivol, who was a 4-1 underdog heading into the fight.
“He kept hitting me in the arms, and I kept hitting him in the face.”
Canelo was not the only combat sports star in action on Saturday night. While he and Bivol did battle in Las Vegas, the UFC set up shop in Phoenix, Arizona, with a stacked UFC 274 card.
Highlights of the MMA promotion’s latest pay-per-view included a dazzling victory from Charles Oliveira (33-8), who weathered some early adversity to submit Justin Gaethje in round one of the main event.
In victory, Oliveira is now the No. 1 lightweight contender, after being stripped of the division’s title for missing weight by half a pound at the UFC 274 weigh-ins.
In the UFC 274 co-main event, Carla Esparza (19-6) defeated Rose Namajunas by split decision to claim the promotion’s strawweight title for a second time. Unfortunately, the fight was panned by the cage-side commentators as one of the worst in MMA history.
The other big moment of the UFC 274 card came courtesy of former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (23-7), who scored a knockout of the year contender against fading legend Tony Ferguson.
Chandler annihilated Ferguson with an absolutely brutal second-round kick to the face, and subsequently called for a big money fight against the comebacking Conor McGregor.
McGregor answered the challenge on Twitter and congratulated Chandler on the win, so perhaps “The Notorious” has found his next opponent one he returns to the Octagon following the gruesome leg injury he suffered during his second loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
“I’d have a nice knock off this guy, no doubt about it,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.
“A firework spectacle. I like the 170 shout also. Tipped him over. I’m definitely game to fight this guy at some stage in my career. I see it happening after tonight. Congrats on a solid win Michael and another barnstormer,” wrote McGregor, who has lately been showing off his new Lamborghini speedboat on Instagram.