The 2022 Boxer of the Year Dmitry Bivol might return December 9th on the undercard of Devin Haney versus Regis Prograis, for Prograis' WBC junior welterweight world title. The keyword is - maybe.
Bivol has been a man without a fight in 2022. The big issue as ProBox TV News has documented he is simply too good. Bivol is in his prime and having a hard time landing fights against suitable opponents. Bivol waited out the first two quarters of the year seeing if he'd land a Canelo fight, but he didn't. Then the second half has been more frustrating.
Veteran boxing reporter, Curran Bhatia reported on fight night a quote on social media from Bivol per his manager Vadim Kornilov.
"I am focused on unifying the 175 division titles, then we will talk about 168 if all is as planned," said Bivol via Kornilov.
The frustration echoes through the message. Bivol is a year older with nothing added to his legacy after beating two of the three best light heavyweights in Canelo and Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez only for nothing to happen in his career. The boxing world moved on from him despite him not losing. He seemingly never got offered a main event spot, and now might return as a co-feature after being the best fighter of the year in the previous one.
It is clear Bivol is targeting the winner of Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith, and Bivol's team is probably cheering for Smith as that fight seems to be an easier bout to make, as Beterbiev works with Top Rank Inc., a different promoter, and fights once, or at most, twice a year.
“There are talks about him possibly fighting on the Haney show, but we’re in talks with DAZN," said Eddie Hearn to the International Boxing News. "I don’t know how that will sit with Dmitry Bivol, but he needs to fight and is ready to fight."
The long-reigning WBA light heavyweight champion is now becoming a prisoner of the politics of boxing. A rumored opponent is Lyndon Arthur, a solid fighter, but one who also seems to offer little resistance to a pound-for-pound level talent, and potential all-time great as Dmitry Bivol. Bivol's desire for a rematch with Canelo Alvarez has been clear, but his demand to fight Canelo for all four of his world titles at super middleweight seems to create a divide between the two. Now it comes down to Bivol getting a suitable opponent and his readiness to fight when called upon even if he isn't headline - which he should be at this point.
Bivol is quite simply too good for his own good.
Now if he were to land on the San Francisco, California card at the Chase Center one of the big roadblocks would also be Financial considerations. Bivol requires the payment of a champion and the payment of a fighter who beat Canelo Alvarez. Given the high purses of Haney and Prograis, it will take some creative maneuvers to find him as a suitable purse along with keeping him happy with being the co-feature.