Sports

Sources: Canelo-Bivol May 7 title bout finalized

Canelo Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol have finalized a deal for a May 7 fight for Bivol’s light heavyweight title, sources told ESPN on Friday. An announcement is imminent for the DAZN pay-per-view.

Canelo is the undisputed super middleweight champion but will return to 175 pounds for the fight. In his lone light heavyweight fight, he scored a brutal 11th-round KO of Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

Alvarez’s deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is for two fights, sources said. The second fight, assuming he defeats Bivol, will see the Mexican star return to 168 pounds for a highly anticipated trilogy fight against Gennadiy Golovkin on Sept. 17, per sources.

GGG is in the process of finalizing his deal for the bout, sources said. First, he’ll meet Ryoto Murata in April in Japan in a middleweight title unification on DAZN. If Golovkin prevails, he’ll then move up to 168 for the third meeting with his bitter rival on DAZN PPV, sources said.

The other package that was presented to Alvarez, ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, came from PBC. Al Haymon offered Alvarez a one-fight deal worth upward of $45 million for a May 7 defense of his undisputed super middleweight championship against Jermall Charlo, sources said. Another PBC offer extended to Alvarez, 31, was for two fights and more than $100 million for a May fight with Charlo and a September bout with David Benavidez, sources said.

Instead, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) chose the DAZN route, a deal that will guarantee him more than $85 million, including what figures to be a financial windfall on the upside for the GGG bout. Canelo fought Golovkin twice for middleweight supremacy, and both bouts were commercial bonanzas. Each produced over $20 million in gate receipts and over 1 million pay-per-view buys.

The September 2017 bout resulted in a controversial draw. One year later, Alvarez defeated Golovkin via majority decision. Four more years later, they could meet a third time, but this time, it would be for all the marbles at 168 pounds. But first, they’ll have to triumph in their upcoming bouts. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) was set to fight Murata in December before COVID-19 restrictions in Japan forced the fight’s postponement. GGG turns 40 in April and hasn’t competed since a December 2020 victory over Kamil Szeremeta.

Against Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) Alvarez will face a formidable challenge. The 31-year-old Russian fighter is adept at controlling range with his jab and is a precise puncher. Bivol is rated No. 2 by ESPN at 175 pounds. Alvarez is coming off another banner campaign, one that won him honors as ESPN’s 2021 Fighter of the Year. He competed three times last year, including stoppage wins over Billy Joe Saunders in May and Caleb Plant in November, to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship.

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