By Brian Webber: Eddie Hearn says the mouth-watering clash between light heavyweight champions Dmitry Bivol & Artur Beterbiev isn’t big enough yet to cross over to the casual boxing fans.
While Bivol vs. Beterbiev might be the “biggest fight in boxing” in terms of the hardcore fans, Hearn says, it won’t be recognized by the casuals, who aren’t familiar with the two unbeaten 175-lb champions.
Hearn still wants to make the Bivo-Beterbiev fight, but the two have fights this year that they have to navigate before they can eventually battle for the undisputed championship.
Bivol must fight Canelo
Canelo Alvarez wants the rematch with Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) in September, so that rules out making the Bivol-Beterbiev match in the summer because it’s too close to that month.
That still leaves November or December as potential months for the Bivol vs. Beterbiev fight to take place, but that would depend on how banged up Dmitry is after the Canelo fight in September.
Bivol will be dropping down to 168 to challenge Canelo for his undisputed championship, which could make it a more difficult fight than their previous match at 175 last September.
If it’s more competitive this time, Bivol could lose or suffer a cut, which will make it difficult for him to return to the ring to face IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) in November or December.
“Beterbiev has Ramadan coming up. He’s not going to fight until the summer, which is fine,” said Eddie Hearn to Ariel Helwani’s podcast. “Beterbiev has a mandatory against Callum Smith, who is our guy. Canelo says, ‘No, no, no. I have to get revenge.’
“So if you’re going to do Bivol-Beterbiev, it’s going to be June or July. That kind of rules out the September fight. It’s an interesting dynamic. For me, just to make it clear. Bivol-Beterbiev is one of my favorite fights of all time. Not just about boxing now,” Hearn said.
Bivol-Beterbiev doesn’t have casual reach
“That is a tremendous fight and one that I back our guy [Bivol] to win, as good as Beterbiev is,” said Hearn. “We just have to navigate the Callum Smith piece, the Canelo piece. For me, Bivol is about legacy. There is an opportunity for Dmitry Bivol to fight Canelo Alvarez at 168 lbs for the undisputed, and in the fight after that, win or lose, fight Beterbiev for the undisputed at 175.
“A lot of people see him as the favorite to beat Canelo Alvarez. He could effectively be undisputed at 168 at 175 within two fights, and that’s something that appeals to him. But we mustn’t wait too long for these super fights.
“We’ve seen it before, and for me, Bivol-Beterbiev might not yet have the casual reach of some fights. But to us, and to people in the fight game, it might be the best fight in boxing. So we need to make sure to try and make that happen,” said Hearn.