By Dan Ambrose: Andre Ward says Canelo Alvarez has no choice but to rematch WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol after losing to him by a 12-round unanimous decision last Saturday night.
If Canelo is the all-time great fighter that some of his boxing fans say he is, he must fight Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) again and make adjustments to his game to get the victory.
Ward isn’t sure how Canelo trained for the fight, but he’s going to need to tweak things for him to have a shot at avenging his loss.
This is a fight that Canelo (57-2-2, 39 KOs) chose, possibly believing Bivol had lost something from his game due to his back-t0-back lackluster performances against Craig Richards and Umar Salamov.
Canelo has to run it back against Bivol
“Personally, I don’t understand the Golovkin fight beyond just money,” said Andre Ward to Fighthype when asked if Canelo Alvarez should return to 168 to face Gennady Golovkin in a trilogy match in September rather than facing Dmitry Bivol again.
“Canelo says he doesn’t fight for money and fights for glory, titles, and accomplishment. I don’t really see the point in that fight,” Ward continued about a potential trilogy match between Canelo and Golovkin in September.
“Listen, Golovkin is 40-years-old, and he looks a little bit older. I think that’s based on the ring style. He’s taken a lot of punishment in these fights, and trust me, that same punishment is being taken in sparring.
“Golovkin hasn’t done anything to earn a third fight with Canelo, and Canelo initially said, ‘There’s no reason for us to fight again.’ Then he starts to do the math. ‘Okay, he’s getting older, it can still sell, and he’s not looking like himself.’
“Golovkin hasn’t looked good for several years now. What has he done to bring excitement? Fans are going to be fans, I mean, the hardcore fans. But he hasn’t done anything to earn another shot at Canelo,” Ward said of Golovkin.
“I don’t understand the fight other than to try and make some money. You’re trying to give him another payday, and it’s a good payday for Canelo, then I understand it. But if it’s about some glory and unfinished business.
“On paper, I guess the way the two fights [Canelo vs. Golovkin], you can say that. But I don’t see the point, and I don’t see what that does for Canelo’s legacy. If Golovkin wins, it’s obviously a great win for him because he’s getting older.
“I think Canelo having the praise that he has and people saying that he’s an all-time great Mexican champion, I think he has to run that back [with Bivol],” said Ward.
Alvarez can do things differently
“Of course, he can,” said Ward when asked if Canelo can do anything different in the rematch with Bivol. “I don’t know if it’ll be enough, but of course, he can. You can always change things. Sometimes it’s not a lot of big things. It’s a handful of small things.
“I don’t know how he trained for that fight. Only he knows. I don’t know, but he knows more than anybody. But from a legacy standpoint, we’re talking all-time.
“That’s the thing about calling guys ‘all-time.’ We got to separate your box office appeal from your resume. Your box office appeal from your greatness as a fighter. I’m not saying Canelo is not a great fighter.
“I think those things in boxing get meshed together. ‘He’s the greatest ever.’ ‘Wait, hold on, bro. Look at the record, look at who he fought, when he fought them.’
“We got to stop doing that. What I’m saying is Canelo has got a lot of praise in his career. Now is the time that you’ve got to earn your money right now. These kinds of moments right now where you lost a fight, it didn’t go your way.
“Now the world has got to see you go into your bag, make adjustments and try and come back and try and beat this bigger man that YOU wanted to fight. Canelo calls his own shots. So he didn’t have to fight Bivol, right?” Ward said.
Bivol fought back
“You went picking on him; you went knocking on his door. You made him an offer,” said Ward about Canelo picking Bivol. “He didn’t make you an offer. This wasn’t a mandatory; this wasn’t a forced fight from a network. So Canelo called the shot.
“He knocked on that door, and it didn’t go his way from a greatness standpoint, from an all greatness standpoint, from a legacy standpoint, you’ve got to run that back. You’ve got to run it back. That’s what great fighters do.
“In taking the fight, I think Canelo miscalculated. Bivol has been a bit inactive. He’s won his fights, but he hasn’t had anything that was polarizing. I think he [Canelo] miscalculated and took that leap, and that’s what it takes to beat a Canelo.
“You’ve got to be a hybrid in there. You can’t just be a good boxer. I’m sure somebody on the planet can just be one thing, and if Canelo stays round long enough, maybe they can beat him.
“I’m saying today right now; you’ve got to be hybrid. You’ve got to be able to box, and you’ve got to be physically strong because Canelo puts the pressure on you, and he breaks a lot of guys mentally.
“You’ve also got to be able to step in that wheelhouse, and you’ve got to be able to get you some. You’re going to have to be able to take some, but you’ve got to be able to get you some. That’s the only way he’s going to respect you.
“That’s what Bivol did. He got hit, and he hit Canelo back. There are always guys that are dominant when they’re not being dominant at that moment, or they’re used to hitting guys with certain punches like Canelo,” said Ward.
“He was throwing all his signature shots,” Ward said of Canelo. “The left hook, all the heavy shots that he likes to throw because he loads up with shots. All those shots, and Bivol was taking them and hitting him back. You could see this look on his [Canelo] face. ‘Oh, this isn’t how this is supposed to go.’
“So, Bivol was a hybrid that night. He boxed, and I never saw him get shook when Canelo tried to put mental pressure on him when cutting off the ring.
“He [Bivol] looked like he’d been at that level before, even though he’d never been at that level before as a pro. He had moments where he was willing to stand there and fight and slug.
“I think Canelo miscalulated. I don’t think he believed that Bivol had that kind of fight left in him, and I didn’t know if he had that kind of fight left in him.
“I was more confident that Bivol had his shot to do his thing because I didn’t know which Bivol would show up because he’s been inactive. He hasn’t had the kind of performance where you say, ‘That’s the kind of performance that would beat Canelo,'” said Ward.