This Saturday night live on HBO, from Atlantic City, Dimtry Bivol makes his last appearance on the network against former lineal light-heavyweight champ Jean Pascal. The only pressure Bivol should feel heading into a bout with Pascal is how quickly he dispatches his man. In fairness, Pascal did recently upset previously unbeaten Ahmed Elbiali, who’s rather huge physically but clearly limited skill wise. Whether Bivol dusts Pascal off with ease or Jean lasts the full 12 rounds, Dimtry looks every bit the part of the next generation 175-pound king.
Four years ago almost to the day, Bivol began his professional career, and in only 14 fights he’s made a nice imprint at light heavyweight. Not quite fast-tracked like say a Vasiliy Lomachenko or Oleksandr Usyk, Bivol has been moved at a steady pace upward. The last two outings Bivol faced his stiffest tests in Isaac Chilemba and Sullivan Barrera.
Dmitry had a competitive fight against Sullivan Barrera and did a good job of solving a few problems Barrera posed. Bivol showed power deep in to the fight by technically-stopping Barrera in the final round. The only sticking point for Bivol versus Isaac Chilemba was a reluctance to close the show. In the first half Bivol’s punches looked crisp but for some reason he decided to coast the last 6 rounds.
Generally speaking the Russian native prefers to establish his jab in the early goings as he calculates the opponent’s gameplan. At times you could say Bivol probably sticks to the 1-2, jab/right hand too much instead of mixing in more variety on offense. However, that habit helps Bivol reset after an exchange on the inside or after clinch. Bivol may be basic but he’s consistent, which will bring him a long way possibly all the way to the top.
In the first 3-4 rounds, Jean Pascal could be a problem for Bivol, but beyond him being a complete shell of his prior form, he tends to work in intervals of 30-seconds spurts. Bivol’s more constant work rate will at some point create holes in Pascal’s defense.
Jean will spend the majority of the mid-to-late-frames on the ropes shelled, usually striking early and especially in the late part of the rounds. Pascal’s best bet is to create a firefight and hope to catch Bivol in an exchange, preferably within the first half of the fight.
Could we see fireworks or at least some decent back and forth, yes but it won’t last past the six or so. If Pascal is still around look for Bivol to increase his pressure and punch rate in effort to get his man out. With so many entities fractured into different platforms in the boxing landscape, it’s important for Bivol to be at his best and if possible score a highlight-reel knockout to draw more attention to his brand. If Bivol does close the show it will likely come via straight right hand.
My Official Prediction is Dimtry Bivol via late-stoppage.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio