By Brian Webber: Canelo Alvarez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso has contacted Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to inform him that his fighter wants a rematch with Dmitry Bivol in 2023.
In the meantime, Hearn states that Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) wants a warm-up fight in May, likely against his WBO 168-lb mandatory John Ryder, before facing Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) in the rematch in September.
What’s unclear is what weight the Canelo-Bivol II second fight will take place. Hearn likes the idea of the rematch being contested at 168, which would make it fairer for Canelo because Bivol would need to drain down in weight from 175.
Moreover, Bivol would have the opportunity to become undisputed at 168 and then return to the 175-lb division to face IBF, WBA & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed in that weight class as well.
Hearn isn’t sure whether Canelo will agree to the second fight with Bivol at 168, as he would be putting his four belts on the line, and if he were to lose, he would be left beltless.
Canelo choosing to still take the rematch with Bivol at any weight shows courage, as he was pretty well dominated by the WBA light heavyweight champion last May in Las Vegas. Bivol’s combination punching & better engine was too much for Canelo in that fight.
For Canelo to have a chance of defeating Bivol in the rematch, he’s going to need to find a way to increase his punch output substantially by throwing combinations instead of the single shots that he’s become accustomed to.
The stamina problems that Canelo has shown throughout his career could preclude him from increasing his punch output for the Bivol rematch.
If Canelo does attempt to focus on volume punching, there’s a risk that he could gas out early, as he did last time he fought Bivol, and be at his mercy for the remainder of the fight.
“The situation is talks between me and Eddy Reynoso are underway to plan out Canelo Alvarez’s 2023,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing Show. “He’s already stated publically that he would like a comeback fight from injury in May.
“There’s a very good chance that could be John Ryder if a deal can be reached there. He’s the mandatory for the WBO championship. He’s the interim champion at 168 lbs, and Eddy Reynoso has made it very clear to me that he wants the rematch with Dmitry Bivol.
“The discussions really are does that take place at 175 or 168. Canelo really doesn’t want to lose his belts at 168, and a lot will depend on the rulings of the governing body.
“I think Canelo Alvarez would almost prefer that fight [with Bivol] at 175, but I know that Dmitry Bivol is about belts, is about legacy. He’s made it clear to us that he can make 168 lbs.
“It’s not unfair for Canelo Alvarez to go to 175. He’s done it before. I don’t think he would want to call it unfair. He lost, and that’s the situation, but I feel that Canelo against Bivol at 168 would enable Dmitry Bivol to try and become undisputed at 168 lbs.
“If he were to be triumphant, he could move to fight Beterbiev at 175. If he were to lose to Canelo at 168, he could still fight Beterbiev for the undisputed championship at 175.
“So when you’re talking about chasing greatness when you’re talking about legacy, Dmitry Bivol is a fighter that is all about that. He has a chance to rematch Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed championship at 168 pounds and then move to fight Beterbiev for the undisputed championship at 175 lbs.
This is an incredible plan and an incredible opportunity that could unfold for Dmitry Bivol, but there is a lot of work to be done between myself with Vadim Kornilov, Frank Smith, with Eddy Reynoso, with Canelo Alvarez to try and make this happen.
“Talks are underway to try and plan out our presentation to Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso for what 2023 looks like, and it’s going to be really exciting.
“Yeah, people will always be excited about the rematch [with Bivol] because Canelo puts it on the line again. Another defeat for Canelo Alvarez [would be disastrous]. I have to be honest with you. The way the first fight planned out, I think the rematch is extremely dangerous for Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso.
“This is what they’re about. I have to be honest with you. I was shocked when I received a phone call from Eddy Reynoso saying, ‘We want Bivol. We want Bivol! Canelo wants revenge against Dmitry Bivol.’
“That just shows you that ever since that defeat, it’s been eating him up. Whatever way you want to look at it, he’s a winner, and he wants another fight. Just like AJ against Oleksandr Usyk, they believe they can win, but it’s a very dangerous task.
“Coming out of the May fight [against John Ryder], getting that momentum, going into the Bivol fight. We also need to provide Dmitry Bivol, in the meantime, with a voluntary defense of his 175 lb title because he’s not going to sit around and wait while Canelo Alvarez defends against a mandatory.
“So there are a lot of boxes to be ticked for our fighters in this process, but I love the idea of a rematch between those fighters in September for the undisputed at 168, and it clears the way for Dmitry Bivol, win or lose, to fight Artur Beterbiev at 175 for the undisputed.
“If you’re talking about legacy, that would put Dmitry Bivol as one of the greatest fighters of all time if he can defeat Canelo Alvarez again and then defeat Artur Beterbiev. There are so many things that need to happen. Canelo has got to come back; we’ve got to negotiate the deal; Beterbiev has got to fight Yarde.
“Callum Smith is also the mandatory for the winner of that fight. He’s going to fight on March 11th. Joshua Buatsi might be the guy that gets the voluntary defense [against Bivol]. There are so many boxes [that need to be ticked before the Canelo vs. Bivol rematch takes place],” said Hearn.