By Alex P. Vidal
“Everybody pulls for David, nobody roots for Goliath.”—Wilt Chamberlain
WE have always heard of an abundance of ancient and modern stories about Goliath taking a terrible beating from diminutive David in any competition that glorifies the spirit of the underdog, or highlights the success of a palooka over a physically superior foe.
This time, the situation has been reversed: it’s Goliath making a mincemeat of David in every sense of the word.
We’re referring to Dmitry Yuryevich Bivol, a tall Russian professional boxer from Kyrgyzstan and the reigning WBA light heavyweight champion, who proved to all and sundry that not all Goliaths will forever be the subordinates of the over-sensationalized David.
On May 7 while the Filipinos were busy preparing for the May 9 Philippine presidential election where a female David (Leni Robredo) was pitted against a male Goliath (Bongbong Marcos Jr), Bivol finally ended Canelo Alvarez’s Cinderella-like story in professional boxing.
Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) retained his title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with a clear-cut unanimous decision (115-113, 115-113, 115-113) win over Mexico’s Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs).
Alvarez, whose other defeat was inflicted by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013, was aiming to become a champion at 175 pounds again.
I will vote to pick Bivol’s big win over the very popular Alvarez, a good friend of defeated Philippine presidential candidate and former world champion Manny Pacquiao, as one of the biggest upsets in professional boxing in 2022.
Bivol (our Goliath in this episode) snapped Alvarez’s (our David in this episode) eight-fight winning streak since bowing to the granite-chinned Mayweather my majority decision for the WBC/WBA super welterweight tiaras nine years ago.
The taller Bivol, 31, controlled much of the action with a precise jab, deftly mixing in damaging combinations as his confidence and Canelo’s frustration grew.
Afterwards, Bivol was asked about how validated he felt having toppled the man considered by many to be the best best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
“I proved myself today, I’m the best in my division and I keep this belt,” Bivol said, quoted by MMA Fighting. “Sorry I broke your plans with Gennady Golovkin, maybe. Thank you Canelo, he’s a great champion, I respect him.”
The Russian Goliath also exhibited outstanding defense throughout the fight. While Canelo, 31, did well closing the distance to get in range for his power punches, the majority of them were dulled by Bivol’s tight guard.
Canelo had his best success going to the body, but even then his body shots were frequently answered by straight punches from Bivol that forced him to back off.
Regarding the toll that Canelo’s power took on him, Bivol said, “Yeah, he hurt my arm.”
Though the final scores had the judges giving Bivol the win by a differential of just two rounds, several more could arguably have gone in Bivol’s favor as Canelo just never seemed to be able to get his offense going.
The outcome was a disappointing one for the majority of the crowd, who seemed desperate to ring in Cinco de Mayo with yet another win for the Mexican star.
Canelo was gracious in defeat.
“You have to accept it, it’s boxing,” Canelo said in Spanish via a translator. “He’s a great champion. You can’t make any excuses, today I lost and he won.”
The four-division champion then stated that he would exercise his rematch clause, a challenge that Bivol welcomed. We can’t wait to watch the rematch which might be held before the 2022 ends.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)