Canelo Alvarez hires Oleksandr Gvozdyk as sparring partner for Bivol fight

Canelo Alvarez is combing through every avenue to prepare for Dmitry Bivol. Find more about boxing events at Ninja Sports.

This time, the Mexican superstar has hired former light heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Gvozdyk as a sparring partner ahead of his upcoming fight against the undefeated light heavyweight champion. Alvarez is set to challenge Russia's Bivol for his WBA title, May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) announced his retirement in June 2020, nearly nine months following his brutal 10th-round TKO defeat at the hands of unified 175-pound titlist Artur Beterbiev. The loss was his third to the Russian if you include his two knockout losses to Beterbiev in the amateurs.

The 34-year-old won the WBC light heavyweight title with an 11th-round knockout of Adonis Stevenson in Quebec City in 2018. However, the bout turned out to be the last for Stevenson, who suffered a brain bleed and was rushed to a hospital, where he was initially admitted in critical condition and placed under a medically induced coma. Stevenson, though, has made a miraculous recovery.

While the 31-year-old Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) is adept at controlling range behind his jab, Gvozdyk is stylistically different in the sense that he relied on using distance and straight punches to slay his opposition. Although his career was short, "The Nail" had a KO rating of 82 percent. Bivol, who has competed in two more pro bouts than Gvozdyk, has knocked out 58 percent of his opponents, and has gone the distance in his last six fights.

Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs), the current undisputed 168-pound world champion, and a former junior middleweight and unified middleweight titlist, was praised by Gvozdyk in January, when the Ukrainian stated to FightHub that he would stand a good chance at defeating the 37-year-old Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs).

“Canelo always shows that he’s capable of taking [hard] punches against Triple G (Golovkin),” Gvozdyk said. “Beterbiev, he’s strong, he’s coming forward. In my opinion, he is underestimated as a boxer and overestimated as a puncher. This is my opinion. I fought the guy. But don’t get me wrong. He hits really hard. But you can stand those punches.

“But I think Canelo definitely will be able to stand those punches. Canelo’s skills, canelo’s defense, elusiveness, I think those will be crucial in their fight.”

Should Canelo defeat Bivol, he could face arch-rival Gennadiy Golovkin in a trilogy fight on September 17. However, should that fight fail to come to fruition, Eddy Reynoso, the trainer and manager of Alvarez, stated they would be interested in taking on the winner of the June 18 light heavyweight unification clash between Beterbiev, the WBC and IBF titlist, and Smith, the WBO titleholder.

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