By the second half of his bout with Dmitry Bivol on May 7, 2022, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez looked tired, out of options, and almost resigned to defeat. It was an odd look for a fighter usually brimming with self-confidence and who had just tore through the super middleweight division in an impressive four fight/eleven month run to acquire all four 168 lb. world title belts.
Alvarez had failed in his bid to take Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight title and his loss was decisive, despite the three close judges’ scorecards of 115-113 in Bivol’s favor. Talk of the Mexican superstar wanting a rematch with the Russian was met with skepticism and seen by many as merely a face saving measure. The loss was THAT decisive.
But, apparently, after a tepid points victory over Gennadiy Golovkin in September of 2022 and a one-sided points victory over John Ryder this past Saturday, Alvarez is serious about getting a second crack at Bivol. At least, that’s what he says.
The 32-year-old from Jalisco also says that he wants the same terms for the rematch, at the same weight, as the first time around.
“I want the same terms, the same everything as the last fight,” Canelo told ESPN prior to the Ryder fight. “But right now, I’m focused 100% on John Ryder because he’s boxing, and you never know. But the goal is to have the rematch with Bivol in the same terms…”
Alvarez says that a left wrist injury, which required surgery late last year, slowed him down in training and kept him from performing at full capacity.
“I think I’m better than him– that’s it,” Alvarez said. “If you see the first five rounds, six rounds, I dominate the fight. But then I get tired, of course, because I don’t train at my 100%.”
The 175 lb. Bivol, however, actually wants the rematch at Alvarez’s optimum weight of 168 lbs.
“In the last fight, he went up into my weight class, but he’s fought in that weight class before (against Sergey Kovalev in 2019– a KO victory to claim the WBO light heavyweight belt) and we fought at 175 and I beat him,” Bivol said. “So now I’m willing to take a risk and go to 168 because it’s a motivation for me to try to fight for all the titles at 168…
“Why should I even do the rematch at 175? What is the challenge or what is the motivation for me if I’ve already beaten him at that weight class? And I don’t think we should worry about who thinks what. It’s really about what we want, what each of us wants. And I think he wants to win, and if he can win, he might have a better chance at 168 because he said that that’s his weight class. And for me, there should be some motivation and some challenge.”
Bivol’s manager, Vadim Kornilo, feels that Alvarez moving back up to 175 to challenge Bivol is a way for Alvarez to risk without taking too much of a risk.
“[Canelo] wants to be able to have an excuse in case he loses,” Kornilov said. “He wants to say, ‘Oh, that’s not my weight class.’…We’re not going to do the fight at 175…Our main goal is to go for undisputed, and it’s either [Artur] Beterbiev at 175 for undisputed or Canelo.”
There probably is a degree of business maneuvering with both Alvarez and Bivol when it comes to their rematch. Bivol, too, would benefit from taking the Canelo bout outside his own division. If he loses at 168, he’d still have a belt at 175 and still be in the running for a lucrative title unification bout with Beterbiev, who owns the three other recognized world title belts in the light heavyweight division. Canelo, meanwhile, if he lost at 175, could still move back to 168 and resume his role as defending unified world champion.
The WBC, however, may be running a bit of interference for Alvarez in this matter as they would refuse to sanction Bivol for a world title shot with Alvarez due to their ban on Russian athletes.
Fans will just have to wait and see how things play out in the world of Canelo-Bivol 2.