Saul “Canelo” Alvarez had big plans for 2022, hoping to add the WBA light heavyweight belt to his collection as well as eyeing up a potential heavyweight fight with WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk. He’s always been willing to take risks and move up the weight classes, but Canelo, who began his career as a light welterweight, finally met his match on Saturday, May 7, when he faced Dimitry Bivol. While he’s been a unified champion in super-welterweight, middleweight, and super middleweight, the light heavyweight title proved to be a step too far.
In Dimitry Bivol, Canelo came up against a fighter who could walk through his best shots and land seemingly at will. Despite the scorecards being relatively close, the fight was anything but, and Canelo was well beaten on the night. Bivol came into the fight a significant underdog, despite being a tough opponent. Many expected Canelo to do what he always does, win and win with style. The question now is, who does Canelo face next? Here are some of the best options for the Mexican champions going forward.
This is probably the most likely option, although perhaps not the smartest. Canelo was soundly beaten by Bivol and unless he makes some drastic changes, he’ll likely come up short again. It will be interesting to see what the boxing odds at Betway are for the rematch, as Bivol will likely be the favorite. The original fight contract included a rematch clause, giving Canelo the right to instantly rematch the Russian if he chooses. While he’ll no doubt be hungry for the chance to avenge the loss, he would probably be better off going with another option, and it depends on how his coaches advise him.
On the other hand, Bivol will most likely prefer to fight Canelo again, as it’s the bigger fight in terms of money and prestige. He would also have a chance to later unify the light heavyweight belts by fighting the winner of Smith and Beterbiev, which is taking place in June. However, Bivol has also stated that he’d be willing to come down to middleweight for the rematch, and it would be interesting to see how that plays out. Would Canelo have a bigger advantage fighting closer to his natural weight? Should Canelo win the rematch, there’s a good chance he would go for the winner of Smith v Beterbiev, as unifying the belts would be huge. However, it would be a very tough ask.
The Golovkin rematch has been much hyped for years after two brilliant fights between the two in 2017 and 2018. While Golovkin is aging and losing his speed, he’s recently shown that he’s still boxing at a high level with a TKO victory over Murata. Golovkin has long waited for the chance to rematch Canelo, maintaining that he won the first two fights. The judges scored the first fight a split draw and the second fight in Canelo’s favor, but it was controversial, to say the least.
Many boxing pundits expected the trilogy to be made in September, and it would likely take place at middleweight. Terms have apparently already been agreed upon between the two camps. The final signature and announcement are all that are needed. The loss to Bivol has likely thrown a spanner in the works, but it’s a fight that makes the most sense for Canelo right now. It gives him time to train and take on a familiar opponent before getting back up in size and coming in better prepared for the rematch with Bivol. Despite his recent loss, Canelo would still be a heavy favorite against a 40-year-old Golovkin.