CANELO VS BIVOL AT 168 LBS, WHY NOT?
By Ralph Rimpell
Fri, 26 May 2023
Back in 1988, 7 months after Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement to defeat Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the undisputed middleweight title, Leonard challenged WBC light heavyweight (175lbs) champion Donny Lalonde for his title. What was interesting in that matchup was not only was Lalonde’s WBC light heavyweight championship at stake but the inaugural WBC Super middleweight (168lbs) title was at stake as well.
It was my understanding that both fighters had to officially weigh 168lbs, not a catch weight (agreed upon weight by both fighters) as we see a lot of fighters do in Big Fights. If Leonard won the bout he would be crowned both WBC Super middleweight and WBC light heavyweight champion. If Lalonde defeated Leonard he would retain his light heavyweight championship and also be recognized as the WBC Super middleweight champion.
We know that Leonard was the victor as he stopped Lalonde via TKO in the 9th round. That was 35 years ago.
A year ago last May 2022, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (63-2-2-39KOs), the unified super middleweight champion (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF) moved up in weight and challenged undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol (21-0, 11KOs) and lost by unanimous decision. This was Canelo's second venture into the 175lbs division after successfully defeating Sergey Kovalev via 11th round TKO back in 2019 for Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title.
Canelo attributes his loss to Bivol to not being physically 100% because of a left wrist injury which he has since had surgery for. After rehabbing his wrist and resuming training, Canelo recently fought and defeated Super middleweight contender John Ryder this month via unanimous decision victory in Mexico.
Canelo has expressed an interest for a rematch with Bivol at 175lbs, not at 168lbs as many have suggested would increase Canelo’s chances of a victory. Likely in an effort to silence his critics, Canelo has expressed that the rematch with Bivol be at 175lbs. Surprisingly, Bivol wants the opportunity to fight for Canelo’s undisputed super middleweight championship and wants to fight Canelo at 168lbs.
At a recent boxing match, WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo approached Bivol and challenged him to match. Bivol appeared interested, but then asked Charlo if he had a title. It didn’t appear he was referring to Charlo’s 160lbs title. It appears to all make sense that Bivol believes that he can defeat Canelo at 168lbs but also wants Canelo’s titles as well. That simplifies the matter and should work for both sides.
If Canelo defeats Bivol, Canelo will silence his critics that say he is on the downside of his career. A victory over Bivol, who was the one that asked for the fight to be at 168lbs, would also be decisive and would silence the critics. So the case would be closed regarding the fact if it were held at 168lbs. If Bivol defeats Canelo at 168bs that is good for his legacy. That would make Bivol a 2 division champion as well provide a wealth of opponents who currently want to fight Canelo would now have the opportunity to face Bivol as the new face of boxing.
The leading known fighters are David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, and David Morrel. Even unified welterweight champion Errol Spence who it has been reported has finally signed to fight WBO welterweight champion Terrance Crawford in a superfight, has expressed an interest in fighting Canelo. All these fights would earn Bivol millions of dollars and will intrigue the boxing fans. The idea that these two fighters should not fight at 168lbs for all the proverbial marbles is non-sense. Rather a fight at 168lbs makes a lot of sense for the aforementioned reason. So Canelo vs Bivol at 168lbs, Why Not? Sign the fight!
This writer, like many, scored last Saturday’s fight between Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney vs Vasyl Lomenchencko 7 rounds to 5 rounds in favor of Lomachenko. Some say at the least the fight should have been ruled a Draw (Even). This Writer disagrees with even a Draw as the Official “Compubox Punch Stats” (statistics which fighter scores or lands the most punches) reported that Lomachenko landed 124 punches to Haney’s 110 punches. The numbers are real in addition to Lomachenko’s performance. This fight calls for a rematch, however Haney appears to want no part of a rematch with Lomachenko or a fight with stablemate Shakur Stevenson. A Haney vs Gervonta “Tank” Davis is a fight that would likely due commercially well. The template or formula for 2 different Promoters with 2 fighters is both fighters have to want the fight which will result in cooperation between Promoters. Therefore, a Davis vs Haney fight is possible if both fighters desire the fight…This writer is so excited, because according to the latest reports Crawford vs Spence has been signed and will happen on July 29, 2023 in Las Vegas. Fight fans are eagerly awaiting an Official announcement for the fight.
***Ralph Rimpell is a writer based out of New York and is a Boxing Correspondent for Philboxing.com. Ralph holds an undergraduate degree from City University of New York. He has been a Boxing Writer for over ten years having written for several top boxing websites on the World Wide Web. Before becoming a writer, Ralph's passion was for professional wrestling until he realized professional wrestling was entertainment and not a real sport. It was at that time the 1984 US Olympic team made up of future stars such as Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, etc. entered the professional ranks and signed with promotional outfit Main Events.It was also at that time a young exciting Heavyweight originally hailing from Brooklyn named Mike Tyson also turned professional and became the face of boxing. Young boxing fan Ralph just couldn't get enough of boxing as a large part of it was being broadcast on "free TV". As time went on, Ralph felt boxing writers were not being forthcoming with their boxing coverage, opinion pieces, interviews, etc. So Ralph decided to write an article and submitted it to a Boxing website thinking it would be deleted and ignored by the Editor. To Ralph's surprise his article was posted on their website and the readers embraced it. The rest is history.
"I thank God for the Internet because it has created opportunities for writers like myself who likely would not have been given an opportunity to write for print publications. I hope someday soon to expand my role in Boxing on different levels." -- Ralph Rimpell
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