By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – Dmitry Bivol wants a light heavyweight title unification fight next more than anything.
If he can’t entice one of the three other recognized 175-pound champions to fight him, however, the unbeaten Bivol is more than willing to move down to the super middleweight division for a big fight. If Canelo Alvarez beats Rocky Fielding on December 15 to win the WBA world 168-pound title and decides to remain at super middleweight, Bivol would jump at the opportunity to fight the Mexican superstar.
“It’s a good fight,” Bivol said Saturday night during the post-fight press conference following his win against Jean Pascal. “Many fighters want to fight against Canelo. Of course, me, too.”
Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, added that WBA’s real super middleweight champ, Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), would be an attractive option for his fighter if Bivol moves down to the 168-pound division.
“Callum Smith actually called Bivol out, the 168 champ,” Kornilov said. “So maybe he wants to fight.”
First, Kornilov will attempt to secure the WBA light heavyweight champion an opportunity to face the winner of one of three upcoming 175-pound championship matches.
Bivol’s current competition in his division comes from WBO champ Eleider Alvarez, IBF champ Artur Beterbiev and WBC champ Adonis Stevenson.
Quebec’s Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) will defend his title against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs), his mandatory challenger, on Saturday night in Quebec City, Canada (Showtime).
Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), another Quebec-based boxer, will make the first defense of his championship in an immediate rematch against Russia’s Sergey Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) on February 2 in Frisco, Texas (ESPN). Russia’s Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) is expected to defend his crown versus Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs) on an undetermined date early in 2019 (DAZN).
“You know,” Bivol said, “every time I say [to] my team, ‘I want big fights. I want big names. I want belts. If you can, organize [one]. If you can’t promote me [for] a unification fight in my division, maybe I can go down a weight class to fight for another belt.’ Because I wanna make big things in boxing. I want a big fight. It depends on my team, because I am ready. I have one belt and of course I want more, because I know if I have one belt I can get more belts.”
Competing at super middleweight would give Bivol a size advantage against at least some opponents.
That typically isn’t the case for the Kyrgzstan native at light heavyweight. Quebec’s Pascal (33-6-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC) weighed 188 pounds on HBO’s unofficial scale Saturday night, seven pounds more than Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs).
“Every time I can make super middleweight, because I’m not a big guy,” Bivol said. “You saw my fight against Pascal. He was bigger than me. I’m not a big guy. Maybe if another fighter [were] in my place [he] can make super middleweight. But I know big fights [are at] light heavyweight. It’s a more interesting weight for us. This is why I’m here, in the light heavyweight division.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.