A representative for Dmitry Bivol always felt Canelo Alvarez was simply using his charge’s name for clout.
The WBA light heavyweight titlist from Russia was expected to fight Alvarez in a rematch this fall, but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement on a deal.
Bivol’s chief handler, veteran manager Vadim Kornilov, denounced Alvarez last month, for trying to offer his client the “same terms” as the first fight, even though Bivol was the victor. Bivol defeated Alvarez by unanimous decision last year in a 175-pound contest for Bivol's WBA belt.
After Bivol’s team balked at his demands, Alvarez quickly turned his attention elsewhere. He briefly flirted with the idea of fighting cruiserweight titlist Badou Jack, before agreeing to a multi-bout contract with Premier Boxing Champions. That union effectively signaled the end of Alvarez’s relationship with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, which had promoted the majority of the Mexican superstar’s fights for the past several years.
Kornilov believes Alvarez was simply stringing them along, mentioning Bivol's name at every pass, to curry favor with the public.
“As I have said before, Canelo talking about the Bivol rematch was always just a front for the fans to believe,” Kornilov told BoxingScene.com.
On Friday, Alvarez announced he would be taking on undisputed 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas.
Alvarez had repeatedly expressed his desire to fight Bivol in a rematch. After the loss to Bivol, Hearn said he convinced Alvarez to forgo an immediate rematch with Bivol in favor of settling unfinished business with Gennadiy Golovkin in the fall of last year. Alvarez, however, suffered a hand injury during that fight and needed surgery. That necessitated that his next fight, which took place this past spring, would come against softer opposition. Alvarez fought John Ryder in a tougher-than-expected fight that we won by decision.
With the news that Alvarez is no longer on the horizon for Bivol, plans are now in motion for Bivol to make his return in the fall. Bivol, who has not fought since defeating Gilberto Ramirez in November, recently said he expects to return in October. British contender Dan Azeez was mentioned by Hearn as an option, but rival promoter Ben Shalom recently stressed that Azeez would be taking on Joshua Buatsi instead.
Asked to comment on Bivol’s next opponent, Kornilov simply said, “We are in talks for other opponents with Matchroom and Eddie.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.