Eddie Hearn can’t envision any scenario in which Caleb Plant will upset Canelo Alvarez on November 6 in Las Vegas.
The British promoter accordingly has mapped out a plan for Alvarez’s return to the ring after defeating Plant in their super middleweight title unification fight next month at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Hearn believes Alvarez – with whom his company, Matchroom Boxing, maintains a professional partnership – will want to conquer the light heavyweight division once he becomes the first fully unified 168-pound champion in the history of boxing’s four-belt era.
Hearn intends to help keep the unbeaten Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) sharp by matching him against English southpaw John Ryder (30-5, 17 KOs), maybe at some point in December in the United Kingdom. He explained his blueprint for an Alvarez-Bivol bout during an appearance on the most recent episode of the “Boxing With Chris Mannix” podcast, which debuted Friday on The Volume.
“I think, right now, if I’m Dmitry Bivol,” Hearn said, “I’m saying, ‘Well, if Canelo beats Plant, what’s the next challenge? And the next challenge, in my mind, is for him to become undisputed at 175. So, Bivol would be the first stop. So, we’re looking at a fight between Dmitry Bivol and John Ryder, maybe in the UK. And then I’d like to try and make the fight with him against Canelo Alvarez in May.
“Now, we’ve also got Joshua Buatsi and Callum Smith, who looked great last time out. So, we’ve got loads of options for Dmitry Bivol. Gilberto Ramirez is a good fight [for Bivol] as well, but I think, you know, the plan has got to be keep yourself bubbling for that Canelo Alvarez fight because you need to be available and you need to be ready.”
If the heavily favored Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) beats Las Vegas’ Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), the Mexican icon could pursue more business with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, perhaps for fights against Jermall Charlo and/or David Benavidez. If Alvarez were to take either of those routes and stay at super middleweight, Hearn has an alternate plan for Russia’s Bivol, who has mentioned his desire to face Alvarez for a couple of years.
“You wouldn’t be sitting on the shelf,” Hearn explained. “You’d be fighting Callum Smith, you’d be fighting Joshua Buatsi. So, we would say, ‘You’ve got one fight in December or whatever, and you’re guaranteed to fight in March if you don’t get Canelo. But if you do, congratulations.’ And I think – I know that Bivol is really in the mind of Canelo Alvarez for the next challenge, which could be 175 pounds.”
An Alvarez-Bivol bout was discussed by their teams temporarily, when negotiations for Alvarez-Plant stalled during the summer.
Liverpool’s Smith (28-1, 20 KOs), a former WBA super middleweight champ, knocked Dominican veteran Lenin Castillo (21-4-1, 16 KOs) unconscious in the second round of his most recent bout, which took place September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Arena in London. London’s Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) would take a steep leap in competition if he were to battle Bivol, who most recently edged England’s Craig Richards (16-2-1, 9 KOs) on points in their 12-round match May 1 at Manchester Arena in Manchester.
The 31-year-old Alvarez already has won a light heavyweight title. He gave up the WBO 175-pound crown he won by knocking out Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) in the 11th round of their November 2019 bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena without defending it, though.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.