Hall of Fame promoter Don King is not in favor of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's decision to move up to the light heavyweight division to challenge WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol.
Last year, at the WBC's annual convention, Canelo's handlers requested permission to challenge WBC cruiserweight champion Illunga Makabu - who King promotes.
As the months played out, Canelo - the undisputed super middleweight champion - steered away from Makabu and finalized a fight with Bivol, which takes place on May 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will be part of Mexican Independence Day weekend.
King believes Canelo should send political message by dropping the fight with Bivol, who is from Russia. The country of Russia is currently involved in an ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“It is the worst thing that Canelo can do to himself, because Canelo comes from Mexico and on May 5, when Canelo plans to fight, Mexico was fighting for his freedom. How can you celebrate freedom on May 5? How can you fight on May 7 and condemn the attacks on freedom? You can't do that," King told Fighthype.com.
“It is the worst thing he can do because Canelo can take the $35 million from the fight, but the reality is that he is hurting himself. He fights for Mexico, he fights for Pancho Villa, for Emiliano Zapata, for those who fought for freedom. He cannot say with one hand that he fights for freedom and with the other you cash the check."
Bivol has openly stated that he wants the war to end, because he personally has a lot of friends in the country of Ukraine.
Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who is from Ukraine, also believes Bivol should be barred from getting the Canelo fight.
“It is nothing against him or other athletes. Every Russian representative must be sanctioned," Klitschko said.