Almost a year after Dmitry Bivol beat him, Canelo Alvarez still doesn’t believe that the undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion is better than him.
Alvarez explained during a virtual interview session Thursday that he has pushed hard for a rematch with Bivol because he wants to prove just that. If Mexico’s Alvarez beats British underdog John Ryder on Saturday night in Zapopan, Mexico, he hopes to secure a second shot at Bivol’s belt in September.
“I think I’m better than him,” Alvarez told a small group of reporters. “That’s it. If you see the first five rounds, six rounds, I’m dominating the fight. But then I get tired, probably because I [didn’t] train like a hundred percent. But I think I’m better than him and that’s it.”
Russia’s Bivol defeated Alvarez by the same score, 115-113, on the cards of judges Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld last May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cheatham, Moretti and Weisfeld scored the entire fight identically – the first four rounds for Alvarez, the next four rounds for Bivol, the ninth round for Alvarez and then each of the last three rounds for Bivol.
Each judge had Bivol in front 105-104 entering the 12th round, which Bivol needed to win to avoid a draw.
Guadalajara’s Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) didn’t exercise his right to an immediate rematch versus Bivol because his next fight – a third showdown with rival Gennadiy Golovkin – was tentatively scheduled for September 17 at T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez defeated Golovkin by unanimous decision in their 12-round super middleweight championship match.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) has shown interest in dropping down to the super middleweight division for his rematch against Alvarez. That would afford Bivol an opportunity to become boxing’s fully unified 168-pound champion, but Alvarez wants to battle Bivol at light heavyweight again because he seeks full credit if he beats Bivol in their rematch.
“You know, I want the same terms, the same everything as the last fight,” Alvarez said. “Right now, I’m focused a hundred percent on John Ryder because, you know, it’s boxing and you never know. But Bivol, I [want] to have the rematch with Bivol [on] the same terms.”
Alvarez also feels he’ll perform better in a rematch with Bivol because his left wrist has been surgically repaired since they fought nearly a year ago. The four-division champion underwent a procedure in October to fix ligament damage that hindered him in training and during fights against Caleb Plant, Bivol and Golovkin.
“I think in the training camp for the fight with Bivol,” Alvarez said, “I didn’t train one hundred percent, the sparring and everything. You know, at the end of the day, it is what it is. It happened. But right now, you know, I’m a hundred percent able to train a hundred percent. And that motivates me a lot.”
Most sportsbooks have established Alvarez as at least a 16-1 favorite over London’s Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs), the mandatory challenger for his WBO super middleweight title. Alvarez will defend his IBF, WBA and WBC belts as well in their main event at Akron Stadium, where a capacity crowd of more than 50,000 is expected just outside of Alvarez’s hometown.
The bout between Alvarez, 32, and Ryder, 34, will headline a DAZN Pay-Per-View show scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EDT and 4 p.m. PDT. DAZN subscribers can purchase the Alvarez-Ryder event for $59.99, but it’ll cost non-subscribers $79.99 to buy it through cable and satellite operators.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.