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Canelo-Bivol talk gathers pace

A potential clash between WBA Super light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol and pound-for-pound No.1 Canelo Alvarez appears to be gathering pace.

WBC, WBA Super and WBO super-middleweight champion Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) was set to face IBF title holder Caleb Plant on September 18 before talks broke down earlier this week.

Russian Bivol, widely regarded as the second-best 175-pounder in the world behind compatriot and WBC and IBF title holder Artur Beterbiev, has since entered the frame as a more appealing alternative to Nashville’s relatively untested Plant.

His size and elite amateur pedigree poses a more serious threat to four-division champion Canelo, who previously stepped up to 175lbs to halt another Russian Sergey Kovalev (WKO11) in November 2019.

Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) would welcome the opportunity to meet boxing’s leading man. “Any confident and ambitious champion would want this type of challenge, to meet the pound-for-pound best,” Bivol told ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger via his manager Vadim Kornilov. “This would be an exciting challenge for me.”

Canelo’s promoter of choice Eddie Hearn, who has staged the Mexican’s (and the Russian’s) last three events on DAZN, feels Bivol is a perfect fit as a Plan B.

“Bivol is a great fight and [Canelo] has proved time and time again his willingness to fight champions,” Hearn told ESPN.com’s Coppinger. “It would be another great fight in an incredible run. Bivol is looking for that legacy fight as well. We’ll have to see what happens over the next few days.

“It’s the unknown, isn’t it? How good is Dmitry Bivol? For a long time, many people felt he was the best light-heavyweight in the world. But he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase that against elite opposition. Is this the moment? He’s young, he’s fresh and he’s extremely motivated.

“It was always the intention [for Canelo] to fight on the September date. There is an opportunity to do so, but obviously time is against us. We’re in regular communication and a decision will be made in due course.”