Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has been warned that Dmitry Bivol is capable of producing a more dominant victory in a rematch, which is likely to take place in America later this year.
Canelo suffered a shock defeat to Bivol in their light heavyweight title clash in Las Vegas on Saturday night, with the Kyrgyzstan-born Russian securing a win by unanimous decision.
Bivol successfully defended his WBA crown and handed Alvarez only the second loss of his career nine years on from his first at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
All three judges scored the fight 115-113 in Bivol’s favour at the end of 12 rounds, and his record now improves to 20 wins from 20 fights. Alvarez – widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world before the bout – slips to 57-2-2.
Bivol’s promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy told Sky Sports: “We have definitely seen one of the greatest fights from Dmitry, but to say it was the best would mean to devalue his abilities and his ambitions.
“I do believe his best is still ahead.”
Ryabinskiy also stated that he expects Bivol to return to America for a return bout with Canelo.
“I’d say the preparation process will take at least from four to five months,” he said.
“And the place for the fight is still to be decided, but most likely it will be in the US.”
Both fighters are keen to do battle in the ring again, with Alvarez’s response when asked if he wanted a rematch: “Of course I do. This doesn’t end like this.”
He later repeated that message on Twitter with a post which, translated from Spanish, read: “I stay with the great fight that we offered to the people. We will fight again and we will win again.”
Bivol, too, is keen to face Canelo once more. “A rematch? No problem,” he said. “I am ready for the rematch, I just want to make sure I win and am treated like a champion now.”
Alvarez was the overwhelming pre-fight favourite going into the first bout, but was rarely able to find a way through Bivol’s defensive guard and the Russian used his jab to good effect to keep Alvarez on his heels, unloading flurries of punches to redden the smaller man’s face and convince the judges to award him the fight.
Asked whether he felt he is now the pound-for-pound No 1 in the world, Bivol said: “To be honest, no. I just beat the guy who wanted my belt in my mind. And he was a super middleweight. And yes, he had the belt in the light heavyweight. But I don’t feel myself that I’m the king today.”
“If the rematch is going to happen, I just have to make sure I get what I deserve, because I don’t think that even before in any previous fight as a champion, I got what I deserve.
“I’m glad I proved myself, I’m the best in my division and I keep this belt. He’s a great champion, I respect him and all his team.
“If you don’t believe in yourself what do you do? You achieve nothing. I believe and my team believed in me.”