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Canelo targets Bivol rematch, but weight remains an issue

Canelo Alvarez fought in his home country of Mexico for the first time since 2011 on Saturday night, routing a game but ultimately noncompetitive John Ryder across twelve rounds to retain his four super-middleweight titles. Judges awarded Canelo the win with 120–107, 118–109, and 118–109 scores (watch the highlights here).

“It’s a historic moment for me,” Canelo said in the ring about his homecoming fight. “I’m blessed to be here with my people who supported me from the beginning.”

The event featured a massive spectacle for Alvarez’s walk-in, and the crowd clearly enjoyed watching their man work for twelve full rounds that night.

“I’m happy with the fight,” Canelo said about his performance. “I won and I’m happy that people had a great time. He’s strong. He’s a strong fighter. I’m not surprised about [not getting a KO].”

Asked if the win would push back against the narrative that he was past his prime, Alvarez shrugged.

“I’m here, with the four belts,” he said, part statement and part challenge.

With wins over Gennady Golovkin and John Ryder at 168 pounds under his belt, Canelo is now targeting a September rematch against Dmitry Bivol, who handled him with surprising ease in their May 2022 fight at 175 pounds. The only sticking point seems to be the weight class.

“Everybody knows we want Bivol, the rematch with Bivol,” Canelo said. “If the fight with Bivol don’t happen, then we’ll see. I’m able to fight everybody. Yeah … same rules, same terms, same everything. Because I just want it in that way.”

He wants to head off any suggestion that a rematch at 168 would drain Bivol, giving Canelo an advantage over the last time. Bivol has more concrete desires: the four 168 pound belts Alvarez is currently carrying.

“We fought at 175 and I beat him,” Bivol said leading up to the Ryder fight. “So now I’m willing to take a risk and go to 168 because it’s a motivation for me to try to fight for all the titles at 168. Otherwise, he’s had two other fights. Why should I even do the rematch at 175? What is the challenge or what is the motivation for me if I’ve already beaten him at that weight class?”

So it’s a question of who gives in. Canelo clearly wants the rematch and his revenge, while Bivol is playing it cool. Don’t get it twisted though: Bivol is looking at an insane payday for a second fight with Alvarez, so we have a feeling things are going to get worked out one way or another.

This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

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