Canelo Alvarez has his own ideas set for 2023, though it doesn’t necessarily mean the key player in it all will go along with it.
Canelo tells ESPN Deportes’ Salvador Rodriguez that he plans to return in May with a tune-up sort of fight, and then wants to rematch Dmitry Bivol in Sept. 2023, considering Bivol “not an option” for May.
Alvarez, 32, is coming off of a wrist surgery following his September points win over Gennadiy Golovkin in their long-awaited third fight, which fizzled more than it sizzled once in the ring.
Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KO) remains the undisputed super middleweight champion, and probably will return at that weight. He’ll have a keen eye on the David Benavidez vs Caleb Plant winner, since that’s for the interim WBC title and a mandatory shot, in theory, at Canelo.
We’ll also settle a WBO interim next weekend, when Zach Parker faces John Ryder. If Ryder wins that fight, Matchroom may push for Canelo vs Ryder in May — it would be a massive opportunity for Ryder, and without meaning to disrespect him (though it will, if you’re him), he would be seen as a “tune-up” style opponent for Canelo.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KO), who just dominated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez to retain his WBA light heavyweight title on Nov. 5 in Abu Dhabi, has no obligation to go along with Canelo’s plans. We’re long past the point where Canelo could have contractually forced a rematch, and Bivol has stated repeatedly that his own top priority is to get an undisputed title fight.
That may make September of next year with Canelo difficult. Bivol will likely fight between now, with Artur Beterbiev — who holds the WBC, IBF, and WBO titles — tentatively set to defend against Anthony Yarde in late January in the United Kingdom.
If Beterbiev wins that and Bivol wins a late winter/early spring fight, for instance, then the summer of 2023 or even September itself would line up to get Bivol vs Beterbiev done. Money can certainly talk, and Canelo and his team may come with a lot of it to get Bivol in the ring, but we have to take Bivol at his word, for now, that the undisputed title simply means more to him.
Simply put, Bivol does not seem particularly fascinated by the idea of having Canelo dictate where Dmitry Bivol’s career goes. He’s not chasing that anymore. He chased it once, he got it, and he won. Still, a potential Canelo-level payday is not a bad “second option” for someone to keep in the pocket.
Will we get Canelo vs Bivol 2 next year?