Entering 2022, Dmitry Bivol was expected by many to be nothing more than another opponent handing a world title over to the world-beater known as Canelo Alvarez.
Unfortunately for Canelo, nobody told Bivol.
The Sporting News’ 2022 Men’s Boxer of the Year shocked the world by dominating the sport’s most prominent attraction with a stellar performance that formally announced his arrival. He then closed the year by halting Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez’s unbeaten streak at 44 with a virtuoso performance to retain his WBA light-heavyweight championship.
But these weren’t just victories. These were displays of superior technical ability and defensive superiority that worked behind a sound jab. Bivol only allowed Canelo to land a total of 84 punches and then held Ramirez to landing only 12% of his shots in a masterful performance.
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Sometimes we aren’t sure how good an unbeaten fighter is until they face stiff competition. Well, Bivol passed those tests with flying colors.
He has a chance to repeat as it appears that Bivol will face Canelo in a rematch next year, along with an undisputed light-heavyweight title showdown against the hard-hitting Artur Beterbiev.
Until then, congratulations Dmitry Bivol, The Sporting News’ 2022 Men’s Boxer of the Year!
Runner up: Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez
When a 22-year-old Jesse Rodriguez is asked to jump up a weight class on five days’ notice and then dominates Carlos Cuadras for the WBC super-flyweight title, follows that performance up with an utter demolition of former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai before closing the year with another successful title defense against Israel Gonzalez, you have to give him some recognition.
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It has to be emphasized that Rodriguez was fighting above his weight and was dominant. Rodriguez vacated the title to go back down to his natural weight for 2023, but it was downright frightening to see such a young talent have so much success over the past calendar year.