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Dmitry Bivol: “Fcuk Sergey Kovalev!

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He looks pissed off. 

Less than an hour removed from leaving Etess Arena inside of the brand new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City last summer in early August, an HBO camera crew prepping for DAZN transition follow WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11KOs) and his team behind the scenes to witness the first installment of Sergey Kovalev V Eleider Alvarez from their dressing room. He’s just earned a hard fought 12-round UD, by punching a brick wall in gigantic light heavyweight veteran Isaac Chilemba, for thirty-six minutes with a lot of athleticism. All is going well– until it is not. 

The “Krusher” is, well, krushing Alvarez in my estimation through six rounds from ringside, and I’m confident I can take the wicked pissah (as they say in Beantown) without entirely missing the 7th round. But as I’m air drying my hands, the winds of change sweep through the stalls, and as I head out, fans are flocking out of the arena. A short time later, I’m asking colorful veteran trainer Nazim Richardson, “What the fuck just happened?” He looks at me, with mouth wide open, like I just fender bended his car while already late for work and goes: “…[Boxing] just happened.” Just like that, Sergey Kovalev (who looked great in the rematch I picked him to win) has been unceremoniously KTFO in the 7th round and a fight with Bivol is off the table. 

9Why you shaking ya head?” Longtime fight game radio voice Doc Stanley, with that look on his face, asks me. It’s something about how Coach Naz just said that — even if this wasn’t his intent, that just makes me feel (and this is just me) that Kovalev just raised a middle finger to “Boxing”, Team Bivol be damned, all the way to the winners booth. “Who’d you bet on tonight? I answered with a return question. 

See, responsible people will just face the music– even if it’s a bad tune. The fact of the matter is Boxing, like all major sports, has always had some sort of association with gambling and the mafia, and I just happen to be in the middle of a casino floor after a major prizefight. Go figure. And if you’re naive enough to believe the sweet science ain’t still associated with organized crime, then Sonny Corleone might just enter your room with a bat and close the door before shrugging his shoulders.

There was no real look screaming, “Fcuk Sergey Kovalev!”, coming from Dmitry Bivol until after he endured Jean Pascal this past Thanksgiving weekend for what he made the press feel was for nothing.

During his turn on the podium, Bivol is so delirious in frustration over not being able to get a big fight during his time with the Jersey based co-promoter (he keeps ice grill glaring at Kathy periodically, who is to his right, as he speaks), that I ask him about the possibility of a dream fight with Canelo Alvarez for the hell of it, long before the world hears about Rocky Fielding. He basically looks like a big super middleweight to me at the dias.

“Yes. Of course, a Canelo fight would be a dream come true. This is why I am here, to get a bigname fight,’  fired a briefly enthusiastic Bivol, sounding as if someone has broken a promise.

He’d fought Sullivan Barrera (KO12), Isaac Chilemba (W12) and Jean Pascal (W12) in concert with Main Events via his own World of Boxing since being introduced to U.S. media in November 2017 at Madison Square Garden. Those aren’t exactly bad fights– they were just hard. Daniel Jacobs could essentially relate to the same thing during his tenure with DAZN (Are Luis Arias, Maciej Sulecki or Sergey Derevyanchenko big names?) before signing on to face the aforementioned Canelo for a May 4 megafight on Cinco de Mayo.

DMITRY BIVOL VS JOE SMITH JR 

Here’s the thing… Tonight in Verona, NY at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Bivol defends his title against what I expect will be more of the same he’s faced in Joe Smith Jr., from Star Boxing under Joe DeGuardia. Smith won’t be a tough out, but after some really good work with a highly motivated David Benavidez (himself with a lot to prove in Dallas next week on the huge Spence/Garcia undercard) in advance of this fight, look for Bivol’s game to show more shine against the more basic (albeit dangerous) approach of Smith. I see an amp’d up Dmitry Bivol stopping Joe Smith Jr late in an exciting action fight for DAZN subscribers. After which Kathy Duva might come up and say, “So Dmitry, about that fight with Sergey…”

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About John Gatling

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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