NEW YORK – Dmitry Bivol isn’t obligated to fight Canelo Alvarez again in the light heavyweight division, let alone at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
Alvarez nevertheless hopes Bivol is open to moving down from the light heavyweight maximum of 175 pounds to 168, the division in which the Mexican icon is the undisputed champion. Promoter Eddie Hearn, who works with Alvarez, made it clear during a recent interview with BoxingScene.com, however, that Alvarez hasn’t issued any sort of ultimatum regarding the weight limit for a rematch Alvarez wants to take place in September.
Bivol beat Alvarez convincingly in their 12-round light heavyweight championship match May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Facing Alvarez again would earn Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) more money than he could make for a 175-pound title unification fight against Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), but Hearn stressed that Bivol isn’t simply interested in the high-profile fight for which he can secure the biggest purse.
“It’s obviously a big money fight, but Dmitry’s not just about the money,” Hearn said. “He wants legacy and he likes the Beterbiev fight as well. He wants to be undisputed. That’s why we talk about being undisputed at ’68. That’s not Canelo’s requirement. We’re just saying to Dmitry, ‘If you’re comfortable at ’68, fight for undisputed at ’68. It’d be quite amazing.’ And he makes ’75 so easy, I know he can make ’71 like comfortable.
“But ’68, that’s on him and his team. He would never take that fight at ’68 if he was not advised that he would be effective at that weight. You know, I’ve seen a lotta people say, ‘Oh, you’re trying to bring him down.’ No, he has asked to look into that prospect.”
Guadalajara’s Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) likely will box British southpaw John Ryder next, May 6 at a venue to be determined. London’s Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) owns the WBO interim super middleweight title and is the mandatory challenger for one of Alvarez’s four 168-pound crowns.
Russia’s Bivol expects to fight once more before a deal can be struck for him to square off versus Alvarez a second time. Boxing fans would love to see Beterbiev-Bivol next, yet Hearn again mentioned another boxer his company promotes, London’s Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs), as a potential opponent for Bivol’s return to the ring.
“Canelo is insistent on fighting Dmitry Bivol,” Hearn said. “The only thing on his mind, really, is getting revenge at 175 or 168. The reason we talk about 168 is actually not for Canelo Alvarez. It’s for Dmitry Bivol because Bivol is about legacy. He’s saying that he can make ’68, so we’re saying, ‘If you want, you can fight for undisputed at 168.’ The money’s gonna be massive for Bivol to fight Canelo, but he’d just be defending his title at ’75, which is still a big fight. But what we’re saying is if you wanna fight Canelo at ’68 for undisputed, then you can go on and fight Beterbiev after that and ultimately have two undisputed fights back-to-back.
“Now, Bivol against Beterbiev is an unbelievable fight and I love that fight. And I think it’s one we should push to make. Beterbiev’s mandatory is Callum Smith, our guy. We also wanna push for that fight. If Bivol waits until September to fight Canelo, he’ll fight in the interim, which could be Joshua Buatsi. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. … I don’t know which way it’s all gonna play out. But I know that Canelo Alvarez is saying to me, ‘Make sure I get my chance against Dmitry Bivol.’ ”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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