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Chavez: Canelo has no business fighting at 175

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Image for Chavez: Canelo has no business fighting at 175

It’s long been this writer’s belief that Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez doesn’t REALLY want another crack at WBA 175 lb. world titlist Dmitry Bivol.

When unified 168 lb. champ Alvarez moved up in weight to challenge the Russian, he was defeated pretty decisively (despite three way-too-close judges’ scorecards). He simply had no answers for Bivol’s simple, yet focused and efficient ring strategy. The defending light heavyweight champ fought like the larger fighter, controlled the perimeter, and didn’t allow Alvarez even the slightest bit of an opportunity to launch a sustained offensive push.

By the last half of the fight, the proud Mexican battler seemed beaten and had a look of resignation to him. It was not a look fight fans were accustomed to seeing in the four-division world champion and pound-for-pound talent.

After the fight, though, Alvarez talked about wanting the rematch with Bivol in order to set things right. Instead of activating the immediate rematch clause in the fight contract, however, Alvarez moved on to a third bout with rival Gennadiy Golovkin.

After recent wrist surgery, Canelo is back in the public eye, once again talking about a Bivol rematch (about which Bivol seems very ambivalent as he eyes a full light heavyweight unification bout against countryman Artur Beterbiev). Alvarez also touched on the reasons behind his losing performance in the first fight.

“The first half of the fight I did very well and then came the overwhelm because we didn’t do training as it should be, especially in a bigger division where you have to be carrying it more, they are heavier. That’s what we’ll be looking for, the rematch,” Alvarez told Bet365 in a recent interview, before addressing the possibility that Bivol may be looking elsewhere for his next bout. “If he don’t wants to fight, there are more things to do.”

Alvarez would also assure that his post-surgery rehab is going well and that he should be ready to fight on his usual Cinco de Mayo weekend fight date.

“The doctor at first had told me that I had to be four weeks with the cast without moving it after the surgery. When he came in and saw inside, everything I had and what he did to me, he said it was better than we expected, that I should only be in the cast for seven days, then remove the stitches and begin rehabilitation. I’ve been in rehab for two weeks now,” Canelo said.

“My scars have already closed, I’m doing therapy very well, so I don’t think it’s going to stop me that much,” added Alvarez. “My fights are always in May or September. I think I’ll be ready for May again.”

Hall of Famer and Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, however, feels that a Bivol fight at 175 lbs. will always be a tall task for the future Hall of Famer who broke into the sport at 139 lbs.

“I think Saul has no business at 175,” Chavez told Little Giant Boxing in a recent YouTube interview. “If he fights [Bivol] at 168, he has more probability of beating him…It was a bad night. He looked like he got tired. He was gasping for air and Bivol was better than we thought. He maneuvered Canelo well. Canelo didn’t go to the body enough. This definitely isn’t the weight for him. It’s sad to see Saul lose because it reflects on Mexican boxing. It also happened to me and it was very sad, but Canelo will get back up.”

In a prior interview with ESPN Knockout, the retired Mexican legend wondered aloud about how a fighter as basic as Bivol could give Canelo and, later, Mexico’s Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (who Bivol defeated via one-sided unanimous decision on November 5 in Abu Dhabi) so much difficulty.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com