3 Reasons Canelo Alvarez Should Pursue A Rematch With Dmitry Bivol

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Canelo Alvarez should pursue a rematch with Dmitry Bivol.

At the beginning of 2022, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) sat on top of the boxing world. He was the sport’s biggest financial draw and rated by most publications as the sport’s best fighter in the world pound-for-pound.

After becoming the first-ever undisputed super middleweight champion in the four-belt era following an 11th-round stoppage over the then-undefeated Caleb Plant, the Mexican superstar had cemented himself as one of the greatest fighters of the last generation. He then decided to move back up to the light heavyweight division.

This past May, Alvarez took on Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) for the WBA light heavyweight title. The match would be Alvarez’s first bout in the weight class since November 2019, when he faced Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title. Unlike Kovalev, Bivol is in his prime and the more prolific technician.

Despite, Bivol being the same age and the bigger fighter than Alvarez, the undisputed super middleweight champion was as high as a -550 favorite in some sports books. In some respects, the bout was seen as a foregone conclusion as another accomplishment on Alvarez’s resume.

However, Bivol wasn’t intimidated by the moment or his opponent. He went on to largely dominate Alvarez over the 12-round distance. Even with the three judges’ close scorecards of 115-113 apiece, the match wasn’t competitive from round to round.

Following the loss to Bivol, Alvarez moved back down to super middleweight to handle some unfinished business with rival Gennadiy Golovkin in a trilogy bout. The third contest between Alvarez and Golovkin was disappointing. It failed to live up to expectations. And was relatively one-sided in the Mexican’s favor.

There are a plethora of options available for Alvarez. Instead of choosing to stay at super middleweight to take on the likes of David Benavidez or Jermall Charlo, he wants to step back in the ring with his recent conqueror, Bivol.

“The idea is to return in May with a tuneup fight to see how I feel and then get the rematch against Bivol in September,” Alvarez told ESPN. “That’s the only thing I want for my career right now.”

This decision leaves fans and pundits wondering if this is the right move for Alvarez.

Three reasons Canelo is right to pursue a rematch with Dmitry Bivol

1. Avenge only loss since Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

Canelo has been the beneficiary of having his hands raised in victory in tightly contested fights that could have easily gone the other way. However, the bout with Bivol was his first official loss and most definitive defeat since he faced Hall-of-Famer, Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013.

Bouts against Erislandy Lara and Golovkin were controversial, with many feeling Alvarez shouldn’t have escaped with a victory or a draw. But, neither was as conclusive as Bivol’s victory.

Parallels to Shane Mosley, a former opponent of Alvarez’s, come to mind when thinking about a Bivol Rematch for the four-division champion. Mosley lost to amateur rival Vernon Forrest in 2002 during the height of his prime and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright in 2004 at junior middleweight.

In both cases, Mosley was comprehensively defeated by each man in the first match and decided to head into a rematch immediately. Although Mosley did perform better on his second attempt, he still ended up with another loss on his record.

Much like Mosley, a rematch with Bivol represents something personal for Alvarez. A rematch with Floyd Mayweather is unlikely unless Alvarez decides to head into the world of exhibition bouts. And with Mayweather five years away from 50, a victory over him in any format would be almost meaningless.

Most observers believe that a rematch will have the same outcome and be an even more dominant victory for Bivol. But, fans aren’t the ones that have to step into the ring. This is something that Alvarez has to prove to himself no matter what the perception of others.

2. Reestablish pound-for-pound supremacy

After being awarded a majority decision over Golovkin in 2018, Alvarez was largely considered the best fighter in boxing. The next few years, including victories at light heavyweight, middleweight, and super middleweight, gave further evidence to his claim at the top of the pound-for-pound list.

However, there have always been those who ranked fighters such as Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue above Alvarez. Either due to their still perfect undefeated records, Alvarez’s clenbuterol testing debacle in 2018, or the close nature of his bouts with Golovkin.

With Bivol’s dominant victory over Gilberto Ramirez earlier this month, those who were skeptical and may have thought his win over Alvarez was a fluke were proven wrong. For Alvarez, a win over Bivol at this stage would be more significant than it would have been back in May.

Considering it’s uncertain if Crawford will step in the ring with Errol Spence anytime soon, Alvarez has the opportunity to be the number one pound-for-pound fighter with a victory over Bivol.

3. Legitimize light heavyweight title

In November 2019, Sergey Kovalev was a legitimate titleholder at 36 years of age. He won a rematch against Eleider Alvarez to capture the WBO light heavyweight title and stopped top contender Anthony Yarde all in 2019 before stepping in the ring with Alvarez.

But, using the eye test, the Russian knockout puncher was far removed from his best form. Alvarez didn’t face off against the same Kovalev that took apart Bernard Hopkins and pushed Andre Ward to the brink in 2016, but instead, a man who was a shell of himself.

The Kovalev fight for Alvarez was seen then as an easy opportunity for the Mexican fighter to win a title in a fourth weight class against the weakest and most vulnerable champion in the division. Should a rematch come to fruition between Alvarez and Bivol, it will be against a fighter that is seen at worst as the second-best fighter in the weight class.

In the interim, Alvarez will have a tuneup in May 2023 against a not yet named opponent. Following surgery on his left wrist, Alvarez has claimed that he initially fought Bivol injured, preventing him from having a suitable training camp. How that may have impacted the bout is up for debate, but it does leave some reasonable doubt in the mind of Alvarez.

Before facing Alvarez in a rematch, Bivol could face off against knockout artist and unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for undisputed status. A victory over Beterbiev for Bivol would make a rematch with Alvarez an even bigger event than the first.

No matter the outcome, Alvarez is within his right to look for a rematch with Bivol. A rematch would see him playing the underdog role for the first time in years and significantly enhancing his legacy should he win. It might not be the fight fans are clamoring for, but when he hangs up his gloves, it will be critical for Alvarez to know if Bivol was the better fighter.

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