It could be the biggest fight of the year, certainly the biggest rematch of the year. Dmitry Bivol-Canelo Alvarez II – repeat or revenge. Fresh off his stunning upset win over the Mexican star and reigning pound-for-pound king, Russia’s Bivol is looking at improving on the performance that saw him unanimously decision Canelo on Saturday night. For plenty of people, Bivol’s brilliant boxing display was, well, brilliant. Can Bivol really get “even better?”
The modest champion has refused to let the win of his career go to his head, with Bivol being candid enough to say he is not the best in the world. But Bivol might be the best, and if he can indeed up his game even further than he did in giving a career-best performance in Las Vegas, it will really be something to see. In the opinion of a good many fans, Bivol won by a bigger margin than the official cards had it, with Bivol shocking us by dominating Canelo over long periods.
To his credit, Canelo, along with his trainer Eddy Reynoso, says he will be the man to come back “stronger” in the return fight. Plenty of people are currently advising Canelo to forger the rematch with Bivol, to forget about fighting as a light-heavyweight. Maybe the weight was a whole lot to do with the result on Saturday; which is to take nothing from Bivol’s performance and win. Canelo, a proud man, seems to want that rematch though. Maybe the return could be fought at 168, with Bivol putting up the idea/offer?
But whatever weight a rematch is fought at, Canelo will enter the ring as the underdog, or at least he should. Bivol was a clear winner on Saturday and Canelo was fresh out of ideas on what to do about what was happening to him. It’s possible Canelo and Reynoso can come up with a superior game plan for the sequel, and be a little lighter, with more energy (Canelo looked somewhat flat over the course of those 12 rounds), but it sure looks like a mighty task.
Canelo will have to fight one of the greatest fights of his career, if not THE greatest fight of his career, if he’s to beat Bivol. At age 31, can Canelo improve as a fighter? At the same age, can the significantly fresher (as in terms of number of pro fights fought) Bivol improve as a fighter? As special as he was on Saturday night, the idea of an even better Bivol is a scary thought. For his opponents, anyway.