LAS VEGAS – Dmitry Bivol was willing to do whatever was necessary to get the fight he wanted for more than three years.
The unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion realized that getting in the ring with Canelo Alvarez would afford him the opportunity and the exposure to prove to the world that he is an elite-level boxer. Bivol would’ve even dropped down to the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds if it meant Alvarez would’ve given him that chance.
An ambitious Alvarez didn’t require him to come down seven pounds when it finally came time to negotiate a few months ago, but Bivol made various concessions to make their fight a reality.
The 31-year-old Bivol didn’t care about the order in which they entered the ring or whose name was announced first. He also acquiesced when the WBA determined that he couldn’t represent Russia, his country of residence since childhood, in any noticeable way during the promotion or on fight night because the WBA wanted to show support for Ukraine during its war with Russia.
Perhaps most important, Bivol accepted what he obviously considered short money for the opportunity to battle boxing’s cash cow. Now that he has decisively defeated Mexico’s Alvarez, who was more than a 5-1 favorite Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, Bivol wants to be paid accordingly.
The humble champion indicated early in his post-fight press conference that, with leverage he didn’t previously possess, he wants to renegotiate terms for what might be an immediate rematch on DAZN pay-per-view. The purse in Bivol’s contract for their first fight hasn’t been divulged, but it was nowhere near Alvarez’s compensation, which exceeded $40 million.
“First of all, my dream is to be the undisputed champion,” Bivol said. “And I got this opportunity to fight against the best guy and I took this fight on terms of getting the opportunity. That’s all I cared about. And I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. And right now, my goal is to receive what I deserve. If the rematch is gonna happen, I just have to make sure that I get what I deserve because I don’t think that in the previous fight, as a champion, I got what I deserved.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn sat beside Bivol as he made those statements. Hearn, whose company, Matchroom Boxing, promotes Alvarez and Bivol, didn’t comment on Bivol’s obvious reference to getting more money for their rematch.
Hearn did say, though, that he considers an Alvarez-Bivol rematch the biggest fight in boxing at the moment.
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) reiterated when he came to the press conference that he will exercise his contractual right to a rematch with Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs). The four-division champion wouldn’t commit to whether he’ll battle Bivol a second time next, or if he will proceed with his plan to fight rival Gennadiy Golovkin for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles.
Alvarez, 31, and Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, 40, had committed to their long-discussed third fight before Bivol beat him. It was tentatively scheduled for September 17 at a venue that hadn’t been determined before Bivol’s 12-round, unanimous-decision victory.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.