It’s a two-man race.

It’s been a two-man race and what happened Saturday in Abu Dhabi just made that more clear.

WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitrii Bivol followed up the biggest win of his career, a decision over super middleweight champion Saul Alvarez, with a decisive victory over one of the top light heavyweights in the world. Former super middleweight titlist Gilberto Ramirez was able to box well in spots but he couldn’t match the accuracy, sharpness, and patience of Bivol.

Bivol didn’t beat Ramirez up. It’s not really his game. He just outboxed him, doing the little things right and piling on points. Switching occasionally to southpaw to keep Ramirez off balance, it was a technical undressing by a fighter fully in his prime. Bivol’s timing and sense of distance have been havoc for everyone he’s faced.

Would it be havoc for the only man left at light heavyweight that matters?

Futures: Let’s be clear: the fight at light heavyweight is Bivol versus Artur Beterbiev. Everything else is a consolation prize. Beterbiev has the other three major belts, claim to the lineage of the title, and is just as undefeated as Bivol. Beterbiev has also never heard the judge’s cards as a pro, ending every fight by knockout. 

There are impediments. Beterbiev has an upcoming title defense against Anthony Yarde. Bivol may still have a rematch with Alvarez. Alvarez would pay well but the first fight, while solid, wasn’t a classic. Alvarez might want the fight, and Bivol might be willing for the money, but does anyone really need to see it twice?

Boxing has made a bad habit of delaying fights. Delays aren’t new; letting a fight get a little seasoning has always been there. What has changed is the timetable. It’s not that it takes time to get to the big ones. 

It’s how damn long it takes. 

Beterbiev-Bivol is the fight right now. It should be as close to next as possible. Any further delay is just a waste of time.

Bivol’s wasn’t the only big performance on the card.

Cameron Elevates Her Standing

Welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill was riding a hot hand and chose to drop down a division to challenge Chantelle Cameron for the Jr. welterweight crown.

Cameron was ready for the moment. 

Using her jab, greater speed, and more accurate punches, Cameron may well have been shutting McCaskill out at the halfway mark. McCaskill won a few rounds on the back end but not enough. According to Compubox, Cameron wasn’t outlander until the final frame with a few other rounds at or near dead level in landed blows. 

Futures: Cameron is now positioned exactly where anyone would want to be. As the undisputed champion at 140 lbs, the UK’s Cameron is in position should Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the undisputed lightweight champion, go looking for a second undisputed crown. It would be a big fight on their side of the Atlantic and Cameron now has a statement win to make it more than a hot regional showdown. 

McCaskill loses but can return to defend her crown at welterweight. Contenders like Layla McCarter and Ivana Habazin give McCaskill plenty to focus on until another big fight opportunity comes at her. At 38, McCaskill may find the problems of the Cameron fight cropping up again sooner than later with sharper, quicker fighters able to exploit her game. Time will tell.

Cliff’s Notes…

As of this writing, still haven’t had the opportunity to catch up on Showtime’s card from Saturday. The news out of the card is sad and should keep fans anxious. Best wishes on recovery for super middleweight Aidos Yerbossynuly who is struggling with injuries sustained in a loss to David Morrell.               

Rold Picks 2022: 51-12

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at