Today HBO has just released it’s installment of Chasing Greatness with Andre Ward, this episode focused on WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) as he prepares to defend his title against Sullivan Barrera tomorrow night.
“If you want to understand a boxer, then you got to understand the Journey,” Ward narrates. “I’ve been on it since I was 9 years old, fighting through it everyday. Fighting for everything I’ve ever got: an Olympic Gold medal, world title belts, money, and fame — things I never dreamed were possible.
“Five months ago I decided at 33 years old to walk away from the sport of boxing. But the journey of Andre Ward continues. So today I enter another man’s gym. His name is Dmitry Bivol. Some people say he’s the one that can dominate the light heavyweight division now that I’m gone.”
From there we segue right into Bivol’s training camp, his final sparring day leading up to his title defense against Barrera. Bivol does six rounds of sparring, split between two different sparring partners as he winds down his training.
During the session Ward gives his take on what he’s seeing from Bivol in camp:
“The bigger man that he’s sparring right now, he’s not taking it easy because Dmitry is a light heavyweight. He’s swinging for the fences. You can hear him grunting with every punch and I like the way Dmitry is taming him — that’s the best way to put it,” Ward comments.
“He’s a thinker. If you look at Dmitry’s favorite fighters, you know, one of them is Sugar Ray Leonard. You see little tidbits of the American style mixed in with the Eastern Bloc style that he grew up being trained by. You see the flavor, you see the feints, you see, you know, the hesitation — giving you the commitment and then firing.”
Watch the full video above to get a future Hall of Famer’s take on what he sees while assessing the next generation.