If Saul “Canelo” Alvarez boxes on September 18, it will be against Dmitry Bivol, a decision that will also have a knock-on impact for Dillian Whyte’s next fight, which will be pushed back from August 28.
After the collapse of talks for Alvarez to face Caleb Plant on his chosen date of September 18, the Mexican now faces the choice of boxing Bivol, the WBA light-heavyweight champion, although the fight might not be for the Russian’s, with either a catchweight fight or even a challenge for Canelo’s WBC, WBA and WBO super middleweight titles possible.
Whyte, the interim WBC heavyweight champion, had been expected to top a bill in California on August 28, but he will now not box on that date. Neither will WBO cruiserweight champion, Lawrence Okolie, who is likely to make the first defense of his title on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk fight on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Canelo had hoped to face Plant, the IBF super middleweight champion, on September 18 in his bid to become undisputed world champion at super middleweight.
But a deal has proved elusive and Eddie Hearn, the promoter, says that Canelo must make the call about whether to box on his chosen date or to pursue a later date with Plant.
“Everything hinges on Canelo,” Hearn said. “We have to decide with Canelo if we go September 18. If we don’t go on September 18, we will move [the] August 28 [show] to September 18.
“Dillian Whyte isn’t ready for August 28, so he will box on September 11 or September 18 in America. It is all a bit up in the air.”
Hearn confirmed that Bivol was the fight being considered for Canelo.
“We are talking about the Dmitry Bivol fight at the minute,” Hearn said. “If we get that over the line, it is only even weeks away. The Plant fight is not happening… for now, but if he goes September 18 it is likely to be Bivol. We need to get moving.
“I think it would be some kind of catchweight. Bivol has been talking about going to 168 for some time. He just wants some kind of big opportunity.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.