Bivol: Canelo 'bluffing' about rematch talk

Dmitrii Bivol has accused Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of “bluffing” about wanting a rematch.

The WBA light-heavyweight champion excelled when last year he convincingly outboxed Alvarez in Las Vegas on the occasion of Cinco de Mayo weekend.

In the build-up to and immediately after his victory over John Ryder a year later, Alvarez spoke of his desire for a rematch, but negotiations for a potential date in September have proved troubled, increasing the possibility that both Alvarez and Bivol will go elsewhere.

The Russian is determined to fight this autumn, having remained inactive since beating Gilberto Ramirez in November 2022, and he said of the fighter who remains his favoured opponent: “He’s bluffing about wanting to fight me. I knew it before. I really don’t want to fight him on the same terms [as in May 2022]. Why should I? 

“I told him before, ‘Yes’, and I agreed to all the terms. I like my position now. If he wants to fight me – okay, let’s put the belts on the line. We can accept that. Have you heard of a fighter that goes into a rematch on the same terms [as previously, after winning the first fight]? I’ve never heard of that.

“I want to fight in September, or October. This is our plan – to get a fight in September, October, or November maybe.

“It could [still] happen, to be honest. If he wanted the fight, we could start discussing about this fight, but we didn’t because he doesn’t want this fight. He wanted fights against [Gennady] Golovkin, and [John] Ryder, but he didn’t talk with our team about the fight against me. It was just talk. I’m not just gonna sit and wait for him.”

If a lucrative rematch with Alvarez cannot be secured, Bivol would favour a fight with fellow Russian Artur Beterbiev to determine the undisputed champion at 175lbs, and of the WBC and Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a reason a fight between them shouldn’t happen, Bivol said: “It looks funny because [Canadian citizen] Beterbiev is Russian too. 

“I was born in Kyrgyzstan; I spent almost half of my life there. If I was born there, I could go anytime and get my passport. What’s the problem? I think there’s some other reason [they’re saying that]. I don't know what it is, but it’s not the main problem keeping us from making the fight.

“Politics and sports are two different things. I hope one day it will be really clean – sports will be separated from politics. I really hope. Because all my life I’ve spent it boxing – I spent all my life in the boxing gym, and I just want to fight. I want to show people that you can achieve something if you work hard. Even if you come from a small city, you could be someone.

“I see Beterbiev as more skilful, more powerful, and more confident. [On August 19, against Beterbiev, Callum] Smith is not easy, of course, but how the fight goes will depend on Smith more. If he is confident, the fight is gonna be really interesting. If he’s not, it could end up one-sided. I say it’s a good fight.”