By Jack Tiernan: Canelo Alvarez made it clear today that he feels he needs to test himself in other weight classes like the 175-lb division to be motivated, and his fight with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is an example of that need.
Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is moving up in weight from 168 to 175 to challenge the unbeaten Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on Saturday night on DAZN PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Bivol is viewed by some as the #1 fighter in the light heavyweight division, so Canelo will be showing the world how great he is if he can defeat the unbeaten WBA champion.
Given the size advantage that Bivol has in this fight, we don’t know how well Canelo will adjust to being in the ring with a guy with his frame.
Although Canelo has fought taller fighters than Bivol in the last couple of years, they didn’t have his large frame, mobility, or boxing skills.
“Saul, as this fight gets closer, a lot of people are talking about the quality of this fight,” said Eddie Hearn during Thursday’s final press conference. “Of course, a lot of people talk about you stepping up to light heavyweight but listening to Dmitry Bivol and the experience he has as an amateur and championship pedigree; this is a world, world-class fighter you’re facing this weekend.”
“Yes, this is a world champion, a really good fighter, we know,” said Canelo about Bivol. “We trained for him, he has a lot of skills and a lot of experience as an amateur.
“He’s a solid champion at 175, but I know, and I’m ready,” Canelo continued. “I believe in my skills and I’m very confident of how strong I am. I like that kind of challenge because it’s going make history
“This is the type of challenge that is going to put me at the top of the history of boxing. I feel alive when I have this kind of challenge, and I respect the boxing skills of Dmitry Bivol but it’s my time. I feel I’m in my prime, and I enjoy this kind of moment.”
“Is the weight jump part of the challenge?” said Hearn. “You ruled the divisions at middleweight and super middleweight. Do you have to take these steps to give yourself a challenge? It’s almost oversized in this weight class.”
“Yes, because I beat all the champions at 168,” said Canelo. “For now, I’m okay at that weight. I need to take other challenges for myself, not just to make history. I need that kind of challenge.
“To go up to 175 to have the opportunity to win other titles, it’s amazing to me,” said Canelo.