LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez stands at the center of the ring with four world titles. In the end, he’s the undisputed super-middleweight champion, fulfilling the goal he set at the start of his 168-pound campaign in December 2020.
The 11th round TKO win over Caleb Plant in November to win all four major world titles lifted the Mexican star to new heights. Already solidified as an all-time great with unified titles at 154 and 160 pounds, an undisputed championship at 168 and a win at 175, what more is there to achieve?
That question has become the driving force for how Alvarez is now navigating his career. His mantra: “Continue to make history.”
As boxing’s top attraction, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) calls shots and fights whoever he wants. He has mapped out his 2022 campaign, a change from previous years when he often tried to maintain his pick in the fight over the weekends when negotiations dragged on.
First, Alvarez will embark on a quest to reclaim a light heavyweight title Saturday at the upcoming T-Mobile Arena against Russia’s Dmitry Bivol (8pm ET, DAZN PPV), but the fight will really add into his legacy lies ahead. If Alvarez defeats Bivol – and emerges unscathed – he will meet arch-nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin on September 17.
“They wanted to fight Golovkin, so I said, ‘Why not? ,” said Alvarez. “Everybody wants to fight, right? Maybe a little late; maybe not.”
The long-awaited trio match – four years in the making – is “for the fans,” said Alvarez, but it will also serve to settle unfinished business after 24 rounds. inseparable battle in the future Hall of Fame. However, the third matchup against GGG was simply a detour against his ultimate goal. This 175-pound bout against Bivol put him on the path to an undisputed second-weight championship, a feat no man has achieved in the four-belt era (beginning in the early 2000s).
“I like the idea of being undisputed at 175,” says Alvarez. “I’ll fight everyone. I don’t care.”
WHEN ALVAREZ WAS IMPLEMENTED His professional debut in September 2005, he was a skinny 15-year-old who weighed 139 pounds.
Now, at 31, he’s ESPN’s No. 1 boxer and an equally wide leader in the sport, having won titles in four different divisions. , only the fourth Mexican boxer to achieve that feat.
His previous four fights — title wins over Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith — were contested at 168 pounds. More than 2 and a half years after making his light heavyweight debut in a win over Sergey Kovalev, Alvarez is back in light heavyweight, and if he’s worried about gaining weight, he won’t continue.
“Always walk around 180 [pounds], “he say.” I do not go up; I just lost less weight. “
This light-heavyweight title challenge pits a long-timer with a stellar jab. Unlike Kovalev, Bivol is at his peak at the age of 31, but Bivol does not possess the strength nor achievements of Kovalev, now 39 years old.
Bivol’s biggest win was a near-closer decision against current boxer Joe Smith Jr in March 2019. Since then, Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), has competed only three times, all Both were decisive wins against fighters ranked outside the ESPN top 10 at £175.
So why choose Bivol over other, more recognizable fighters who are capable of delivering a larger event? Weight division rivalry aside, Alvarez insists Bivol, not unified champion Artur Beterbiev, is the best light weight division in the world.
“I think he’s a better boxer, he’s more skilled than Beterbiev,” Alvarez said. “Beterbiev is a really good fighter; strong, always moving forward. But I think Bivol is a really good fighter with a lot of experience.”
A win on Saturday – Alvarez is the favorite 5-1, according to Caesars Sportsbook – would bring Alvarez one step closer to his goal. Beterbiev, ESPN’s No. 1 light heavyweight, is scheduled to meet Smith on June 18 in a three-belt unification match.
“I like the idea [of fighting the winner]”, Alvarez said. My best weight is 168…but I also feel really good at 175. I feel healthy.”
WHEN ALVAREZ MET Golovkin in September 2017, it was the biggest money-making event of Alvarez’s career. After a controversial draw in the first and last war decisive majority victory for Alvarez in the rematch a year later, bad blood boiled over.
Much of that can be traced back to the rematch. Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) – along with public consensus – believes he deserves the nod. Complicated matters are Oddity Scorecard 118-110 by Adalaide Byrd support Alvarez. The rematch is set for May 2018, but Alvarez tests positive for banned substance clenbuterolan adverse finding that he blamed on tainted meat consumed in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Golovkin does not buy an alibi.
“I feel comfortable knowing I’ve won those games,” Golovkin, 40, told ESPN in March ahead of his ninth-round TKO against Ryota Murata. “I don’t look back on decisions.”
The stage was set for the third fight, but things changed quickly.
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy ad, then Alvarez’s promoter, signed 11-match, $365 million contract with DAZN. All deals, except guarantee Alvarez and Golovkin will meet in a trio on the platform.
In March 2019, Golovkin signed a six-fight contract with DAZN worth about $100 million. The deal has an agreement with attached terms for a fight with Alvarez. It seemed like a mistake that the much-anticipated feud would land that year.
There’s just one problem: Alvarez’s own deal with the Golden Boy doesn’t have the same language regarding a three-part matchup.
“After the rematch, when everyone wanted to see the third game, he did everything he could to avoid it,” said Golovkin, ESPN’s No. 2 middleweight.
Four years and eight pounds since their last meeting, the rematch seems set – an opportunity for Alvarez to cement his legacy with a clear win over his arch rival and put an end to controversy once and for all.
“A lot of bad things [Golovkin] said of me, “Alvarez told ESPN when asked why it’s a personal matter.” Like Eddie Hearn said, just simple rule: Don’t…with me. “
WHITE SUGAR Alvarez has done to get to this point is not simple at all.
Alvarez’s long-term contract with Golden Boy Promotion ended in a lawsuit. The decision to become a free promotional agent has allowed him to secure some of the biggest fights he could imagine over the past few years, eventually leading up to this point.
Even in the process, he made it through some tantalizing bouts at 168 pounds. PBC, which secured Alvarez $40 million for his match against Plant, has offered Alvarez $45 million for this Saturday’s fight against middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. There’s an offer on the table for a September 17 fight with super-middleweight contender David Benavidez or welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr in the 164-pound that would fetch Alvarez $55 million. la.
“I just beat everyone at 168 – they’re all champions,” Alvarez said. “Right now, I can do whatever I want.
“For me, that makes no sense because they have nothing to offer me. I just want to keep making history, and they have nothing to offer.”
Bivol has something to offer: a light heavyweight title that will help Alvarez set up an undisputed 175-pound belt fight next year. Golovkin also has something to offer: the chance to end one of boxing’s greatest bouts on a good note.
After the Golovkin game, Alvarez is expected to stay busy on December 17 (be it a UK debut or a return to his homeland in Mexico) before he heads into 2023 as a player. free again. (His current three-fight deal with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is worth up to $130 million.)
There’s still a lot of history for Alvarez to make and he’s just hitting his stride. Alvarez said he’s interested in the cruiser title fight next year. He even teased an Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title challenge with 201 pounds. Perhaps Alvarez will add to his Hall of Fame résumé with wins over Benavidez and Charlo. Maybe even Spence, finally.
New fighters appear all the time, but Alvarez said he’s not going anywhere.
“I want to fight all my life,” Alvarez said. “Perhaps six, seven years.
“I love boxing. I love what I do. Boxing is a part of my life.”
Before entering the next phase of his career, Alvarez has one task ahead of him: Defeat the man standing between him and the gritty match the sport has waited so long for. And what makes history more than the definitive end to a great rivalry?