Canelo Alvarez steps into the ring Saturday against an undefeated champion. Will the pound-for-pound king reign triumphant in his return to the light heavyweight division?
In this edition of the Showstopper, we’ve got everything you need to know for the title bout between Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol on DAZN pay-per-view. Also, uncover the key stats and analysis for two exciting playoff matchups: Celtics vs. Bucks in the NBA and Oilers vs. Kings in the NHL®️.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol
Saturday, May 7 | TV: DAZN PPV
Canelo Alvarez is back in the light heavyweight mix for the first time since his 11th-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev in 2019. He’s adapted to a vegan diet to prepare for Saturday night’s bout with Dmitry Bivol, who has held the WBA light heavyweight title since 2017. Alvarez is in phenomenal shape, but Bivol could prove to be a tough opponent, as he sports a combination of crafty footwork and formidable punching power. Alvarez has said he plans to “be patient” with his strategy against a technically sound opponent known for his accurate jabs and in-ring discipline. There’s a decent chance this showdown goes to the judges’ scorecards if both fighters stick with a methodical approach.
Bivol could choose to keep Alvarez at a distance as much as possible, with Canelo looking to add pressure and close the gap in the later rounds. While Bivol’s tricky style may give Alvarez problems early on, it’s incredibly hard to overcome Canelo’s strength and aggression for a full 12 rounds. Bivol has won his last six fights by unanimous decision, which raises doubts over whether he can take out Alvarez if an opportunity arises. Alvarez, on the other hand, has won four of his last five fights via knockout or stoppage. Alvarez is the heavy favorite for indisputable reasons, but Bivol does have a four-inch height advantage and the defensive ability to stretch this into a longer, more competitive battle than expected.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings
Friday, May 6 | TV: TBS
The Edmonton Oilers carry a renewed confidence into their Game 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Kings tonight, as they look to take a 2-1 series lead in their first-round playoff series. The Oilers shut out their Pacific Division rivals 6-0 in front of a raucous home crowd at Rogers Place on Wednesday night. The win snapped Edmonton’s seven-game postseason losing streak.
The Oilers also boast a balanced offense, as seven different Edmonton players have scored through the first two games of the series. Evander Kane netted two goals in Wednesday’s rout, defenseman Darnell Nurse scored a shorthanded goal, and team captain Connor McDavid contributed two assists, giving the 25-year-old star four points through the team’s first two postseason games.
The Kings’ hope to halt Edmonton’s momentum is no easy task. Defenseman Drew Doughty has been sidelined since April after undergoing wrist surgery. The Kings’ 21-16-4 record at home during the regular season ranked 19th in the NHL. Their power play has also sputtered so far this postseason, going scoreless in eight chances through two games. All things considered, perhaps a dose of home-ice advantage is just what Los Angeles needs to regain the series lead.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Saturday, May 7 | TV: ABC
The Bucks dominated in Game 1, then Boston flipped the script in a Game 2 blowout. Give credit to Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who made some great adjustments in the game plan to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks’ perimeter shooting. Rather than double-team Giannis excessively, the Celtics used Grant Williams and Al Horford to guard Giannis in primarily man-to-man coverage. Williams held Giannis to 4-of-10 shooting when defending him man-to-man and the Bucks were held to their lowest amount of 3-point attempts all season (18). If the Celtics repeat a similar defensive strategy, we could see more pick-and-roll action with Jrue Holiday and other guards driving to the basket.
The Bucks are a narrow favorite as the series heads to Milwaukee, but the continued absence of star Khris Middleton will weigh on this squad the longer the series goes, due to the Bucks’ lack of depth in the scoring department. The Bucks will also need much more on the offensive end from Brook Lopez, who has totaled just eight points so far this series. In Game 2, the Celtics shot 46.5% from beyond the arc compared to an ugly 16.7% for the Bucks, so you have to imagine Milwaukee finds a way to open up some shots more for Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton. Whether the Celtics spare them any breathing room, however, is the big question.