By Sam Volz: Canelo Alvarez should choose to go in the direction of three-belt light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for his fight in September rather than revisiting a second battle against his conqueror Dmitry Bivol.
Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) is a fighter that Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) matches up with a lot better than Bivol, who is all wrong for him because of his in-and-out style of fighting, powerful jab, and his expertise at deftly picking off punches.
Fighting Beterbiev first before facing Bivol in a rematch makes the most sense for Canelo because if he wins that fight, it would be a massive boost to his conference.
On paper, Canelo matches up against Beterbiev as well as he did Sergey Kovalev, and he’d be catching him at the right moment. Beterbiev just turned 38 and is coming off a less-than-impressive performance against Anthony Yarde last weekend.
Canelo’s hand speed and counter-punching ability would give him a good chance of beating Beterbiev than it would Bivol. We saw last Saturday night how Anthony Yarde had success landing repeated check left hooks and uppercuts on Beterbiev.
Those punches are among Canelo’s favorites in his arsenal, and he’s got a better chance of landing them with greater frequency against Beterbiev than Yarde did.
Most people feel that Canelo shouldn’t waste his time by fighting Bivol again because he doesn’t possess the boxing skills to beat him and never will. Canelo is a novice compared to Bivol, and that’s not going to change in the next seven months before September.
Even if Canelo loses to Beterbiev, there won’t be a huge backlash against him because he’s facing one of the best fighters in the 175-lb division.
If Canelo were to beat Beterbiev, it would be a huge accomplishment, and the fans would be pouring the praise over his head by the bucketful.
“Callum Smith will fight March 11th in Liverpool. That’ll be announced early next week,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing. “It’s an interesting dynamic at light heavyweight. Obviously, for us, you’ve got Callum Smith, Joshua Buatsi, and Dmitry Bivol.
“With Frank Warren, you’ve got Anthony Yarde. With Bob Arum, you’ve got Artur Beterbiev. I think, ultimately, the fight that everybody wants to see is Artur Beterbiev against Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed.
“Callum Smith will be next for Beterbiev. We know he’ll have his time for Ramadan, and then Callum will fight on March 11th and then that fight will be ordered by the WBC. In the meantime, Canelo Alvarez wants to fight Dmitry Bivol. He wants his revenge. That could be at 168.
“That could be at 168 for the undisputed championship as well. Dmitry could fight for the 175 undisputed championship straight after that. We appreciate the need for the undisputed fight at 175. I think it’s one of the best fights in boxing, and I can’t wait to see it,” said Hearn about the Beterbiev vs. Bivol fight.