Canelo Alvarez earned another defense of his super middleweight titles after a dominant decision victory over John Ryder this past weekend in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Mexican superstar made no secret of who he wanted to fight next — Dmitry Bivol. “Everybody knows — we want the rematch with Bivol,” Alvarez said. “If the fight with Bivol doesn’t happen, then we’ll see. I’m able to fight everybody.”
Bivol, of course, defeated Alvarez last year after outboxing him in their light heavyweight title fight and inflicting just his second career defeat in the process. Leading up to the Ryder fight, Alvarez spoke of facing Bivol in a rematch later this year and that seems to be the plan. However, anything can happen when it comes to boxing negotiations, so it’s always best to have alternatives ready.
Alvarez certainly has his fair share of them. So with that said, here are five Dmitry Bivol alternatives Canelo Alvarez can face in his next fight later this year.
The most obvious choice in the super middleweight division is David Benavidez. He was the previous WBC champion (before later getting stripped) and remains a strong candidate after defending his WBC interim title against former champ and Alvarez opponent Caleb Plant in March.
He’s tall, lanky, puts on a monstrous pace, boasts a 74.5 inch reach and he’s unbeaten with a 27-0 record with 23 of them being knockout wins. Not to mention, he has a bunch of boxing legends not only claiming Alvarez is ducking him, but leaning towards him getting the job done. He’s certainly after the Canelo fight.
“I just want to tell everyone that I have a lot of respect for Canelo Alvarez but he has to give me that shot now,” Benavidez said after beating Plant. “That’s what everyone wants to see. Let’s make it happen.”
If it happens, it’s guaranteed to be a barnburner.
Before Alvarez signed a two-fight deal that saw him fight Bivol and later Gennadiy Golovkin last year, there was talk of him having a one-off fight against current WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. The American is 32-0 and although he hasn’t competed since June 2021 when he outpointed Juan Macias Montiel, he still remains a prominent name in the boxing world.
However, he is yet to have that breakout fight that truly elevates him to mainstream attention and that’s partly because he’s yet to have a major dance partner. Alvarez would certainly serve as that dance partner as well as be a true litmus test of how good “The Future of Boxing” really is.
“I’ll go out to fight in Mexico if that’s what they wanna do,” Charlo told EsNews in March last year of an Alvarez fight. “I wanna get in the ring and fight him, man, to shut everybody up, shut up all the naysayers. It’s a matter of time, in due time.”
Alvarez even responded to potentially facing Charlo if the Bivol rematch doesn’t come to fruition: “… If that fight doesn’t happen, I’m not closed, obviously there’s Benavidez, Charlo.”
Christian M’Billi is an unbeaten Cameroonian-French super middleweight with a 24-0 record having last beaten Carlos Gongora by unanimous decision in March. It was hard-fought war that not only taught M’Billi many things about himself such as his physical resiliance and ability to fight both orthodox and southpaw fighters, but gave him the confidence to believe he can beat Alvarez — a fight he was already calling for before.
“Now I can legitimately say, ‘We want Canelo.’ We deserve to have Canelo, from a sports perspective, he’s a challenge to anyone and we want the top guy,” M’Billi’s promoter Camille Estephan said after the win (via Ring TV).
M’Billi was also notably not impressed with Alvarez’s performance against Ryder and believes he’s on a downward slope.
“Canelo is on a downward slope,” he was quoted as saying by News In France. “He still has a very big shot, but he has lost sight and footwork. He still has a great look, but not as much as before. … Of course, I would like to face Canelo.”
If it wasn’t clear that Edgar Berlanga wanted to fight Alvarez, the very reason he signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing was to expedite a fight with the Mexican.
“My main goal is to the land the Canelo fight and renew the greatest rivalry in boxing – Mexico vs. Puerto Rico,” Berlanga said after signing with Matchroom earlier this year (via DAZN).
It would definitely be an intriguing matchup as the 25-year-old Berlanga carries great speed and knockout power as displayed by his 20-0 record with 16 knockouts. The Brooklyn native is also extremely popular in the Big Apple with massive support from the Puerto Rican community. That said, he will likely need a couple more wins before he lands his dream fight, but in time, we may just get the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico blockbuster.
The final Bivol alternative is David Morrell. Although he is relatively inexperienced with a 9-0 professional record, the 25-year-old Cuban was a decorated amateur and is the current WBA (Regular) super middleweight champion with five defenses of his title. Of his nine wins, eight have come by knockout including a vicious first-round finish of Yamaguchi Falcao in the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia undercard last month.
He has called for a fight with Benavidez next, but given that he believed he was the best at 168 pounds way back in 2021, it might be worth shooting his shot for the Alvarez fight. After all, there’s no better way to prove you’re the best super middleweight in the world than by beating the undisputed champion.
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