Canelo Álvarez picks Bivol, Golovkin for next 2 fights

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Canelo Álvarez has chosen the next set of challenges for himself at the top of the boxing world.

And as usual for the pound-for-pound Mexican superstar, he’s forging a path with his heritage in mind.

The undisputed world super middleweight champion will move up to light heavyweight for the second time on May 7 to face WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) in Las Vegas.

If Álvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) wins, and if Gennady Golovkin defeats Ryota Murata in Japan in April, Álvarez and Golovkin will complete their highly entertaining trilogy in late summer or early fall.

“For me, it’s to continue writing history, isn’t it? Álvarez said Wednesday as he opened the promotion for his clash with Bivol, scheduled for T-Mobile Arena. “I like the idea of ​​going to 175 and fighting (Bivol), the second best fighter in this division, the champion. It’s a good challenge for me.

Álvarez also intends to fight a third fight in December, likely against a heavyweight champion or a mandatory super middleweight challenger. It all adds up to another busy year for boxing’s most bankable star, one whose work ethic hasn’t wavered with his growing fame and fortune.

“I like to be busy,” said Álvarez, who fought four times in 11 months while claiming all four 168-pound belts last year. “I feel like I’m in my prime. I feel more confident in everything, stronger, so I don’t know if it’s because I’m more active or not, but I like being in the ring.

He will have significant height and size disadvantages against Bivol, but that is part of the challenge for Álvarez, who stopped Sergey Kovalev in his only previous fight at light heavyweight in 2019.

After blowing out every belt holder at 168lbs last year, he decided not to fight again at super middleweight against the likes of two-time champion David Benavidez or middleweight star Jermall Charlo, who would both like the guaranteed salary by sharing a ring. with Alvarez.

“I know I’m the best fighter, but I’ve fought the best fighters in the division and I’ve beaten everyone at 168,” Álvarez said. “You always say, ‘No, but you have to fight…’ Why? I do not understand that. But right now, I can do whatever I want, and I’m just doing the best things and fighting with the best, with the champions. … (Bivol) has something to offer me. He is a world champion at 175 years old. He’s a better fighter than (Charlo or Benavidez).

Álvarez will drop back down to 168 pounds to fight Golovkin, who fought him to a draw in their first fight before Álvarez got a close decision in the second match. Álvarez had been particularly reluctant to agree to a third fight with the Kazakh middleweight star, claiming a personal grudge against him, but streaming service DAZN is eager for Álvarez to take the most marketable fight possible for both fighters.

Álvarez began promoting his clash with Bivol in San Diego, where he lives, trains and plays 18-hole golf almost every day of the year. He drove to the tent outside the Port Hotel in a black and blue Bugatti Chiron, and he briefly delayed his first interview session to respond to texts from his wife.

But don’t let Álvarez’s comfortable American life fool anyone. He remains an inveterate gym rat who stays constantly sharp under trainer Eddy Reynoso, and he returns to training camp just four months after beating Caleb Plant last November to end his busy 2021.

“He set the bar,” said Eddie Hearn, one of Álvarez’s promoters. “Normally the big stars’ excuse is, ‘They only fight twice a year.’ Well, he’s just fought four times, I think other stars should be more active, and he’s leading by example.

Bivol has his own concerns as a Russian athlete put in a painful position by the invasion of Ukraine.

Bivol was born in Kyrgyzstan, but his parents moved to St. Petersburg when he was 11. His wife, children and family are still in Russia as he prepares to train for that fight in the United States.

“I have a lot of friends in Ukraine,” Bivol said. “I have many friends in Russia. My family is in Russia. I have many friends everywhere and wish them only peace and the best. It’s really sad for me. Every day I wake up and read the news and hope it will stop.

Both Bivol and Hearn said they expected the fight to go as planned, while realizing the world could change drastically in two months. Boxing’s four major sanctioning bodies have yet to attempt to bar Russian fighters from competing, but have refused to sanction title fights in Russia.

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