Dmitry Bivol wants to make a stand in his own weight class before hopping to other ones.
In that way, the light heavyweight titlist from Russia differs from one Canelo Alvarez.
In a recent interview, Bivol revealed that he does not share the same urgency as Alvarez when it comes to tackling new divisions. Alvarez is a champion in four weight classes and the current undisputed champion of the 168-pound class, whereas Bivol, a career 175-pounder, currently holds the WBA belt in that division.
Bivol upset Alvarez last year by unanimous decision. The two appeared to be on the verge of a rematch but were unable to come to an agreement. Instead, Alvarez signed a multi-bout deal with Premier Boxing Champions last month and is scheduled to face Jermell Charlo on September 30.
Bivol says he doesn't feel right chasing belts in new weight classes when he has so much more to accomplish at 175.
“Of course in my dreams, I want to fight for belts: cruiserweight, middleweight…But in reality, I have to finish deals in my weight class,” Bivol told FightHubTV.
“I don’t want to move somewhere until I’ve finished things in my weight class. Maybe one day, I don’t know. I’m not big for cruiserweight. But maybe one day, I don’t know, I will see some interesting fight for belts. I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe I will take this challenge for me to move up to cruiserweight.”
The three other belts in the light heavyweight division are owned by Bivol's compatriot Artur Beterbiev, who lives and trains in Montreal. However, it’s not clear if that fight can be made anytime soon. Top Rank head Bob Arum and WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman have cited the ongoing war in Ukraine as reason to not work with Bivol—to say nothing of the fact that there is considerable business politics preventing that fight from happening.
Bivol has previously stated that he could make the 168-pound limit, if a belt was at stake. (There was some talk that the rematch between Bivol and Alvarez could take place at 168, instead of at 175.) Bivol then made it clear that if he went up in weight, he would not demand a catchweight, in the way that, say, Alvarez apparently did when he was in talks with cruiserweight titlist Badou Jack.
“No, no, no catchweight,” Bivol said. “Only for [the real] weight. Catchweight could be for belts? It could be or not? No, if one day, if I want to fight for cruiserweight, it will not be catchweight. Just cruiserweight.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.