By Dean Berman: Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) will be defending his WBA light heavyweight title next month on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyrone Spong on DAZN on October 12 at the Wintrust Arena, in Chicago, Illinois. Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov said they were interested in getting a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, but they couldn’t get him. Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) chose interest to schedule a fight against WBO 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) for November 2
Kornilov isn’t surprised that Canelo didn’t take the fight with Bivol, because he’s not the type of fighter that guys want to face coming up in weight. He believes that the reason why Canelo chose the 36-year-old Kovalev is because he’s getting older. Kovalev has had a lot of fights in the amateurs, and the pros, and he’s diminishing. Canelo saw something in Kovalev that made him want to face him over the other 175-lb champions like Bivol.
Kornilov attempted to get Canelo fight for Bivol
“We were trying to get that fight,” said Bivol’s manager Kornilov to Fighthub about a fight against Canelo Alvarez. “We were interested now, but Bivol is not the right type of opponent to go to 175 to fight. It’s a big risk for him in my opinion. Definitely [Canelo biting off more than he can chew at 175], but with Kovalev, I think they’re a smart team. They’re minimizing their risks. He’s [Canelo] legendary, and he wants to get another belt in another division, but he has a good chance against Kovalev,” said Kornilov.
Not much for Canelo to gain in fighting Bivol, Beterbiev or Gvozdyk
Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions would argue that they chose Kovalev because he’s the best known of the champions at 175. The other champions at light heavyweight aren’t household names in the United States the way Kovalev is. It would be a no-win situation for Canelo to challenge light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Bivol. Chances of Canelo losing to all three would be high, but even if he won, he wouldn’t receive a lot of credit.
— Sergey Kovalev (@KrusherKovalev) September 14, 2019
Canelo won’t stay at 175 to fight other guys after Kovalev match
“He won’t stay at 175, and I doubt he’ll fight the other guys,” said Kornikov about Canelo not likely to stay at 175 after he faces Kovalev. “Kovalev is still a big test for him in my opinion. If Sergey trains 100 percent for this fight, this is not going to be an easy fight [for Canelo]. Listen, he’s using a lot of his character to win these fights,” said Kornilov about Kovalev. “We understand how many fights he had as an amateur and the pros. He’s an older guy. These fighters don’t last forever.
“Many of them begin to diminish a little bit, and Sergey is beginning to experience a little bit of that. He’s a warrior. He can come out of anything. He’s proven that in his last fights. That’s the only negative about that fight, and that’s why Canelo wants to fight him at 175 even. Being the much smaller guy, I believe that they’re hoping Sergey is getting older, which will definitely play a factor,” said Kornilov.
Bivol’s opponent being finalized for Oct.12 card
“He’ll be the co-main event on October 12th on the [Oleksandr] Usyk card. It’ll be live on DAZN,” said Kornilov about Bivol’s next fight. “We’re finalizing an opponent right now. There’s a couple of options. In the next couple of days, we should have it final. I just spoke to Eddie [Hearn] about it. We were waiting for Marcus Browne to win, and we were hoping he’d be the next fight.
He’s been the mandatory champion for Dmitry’s belt for about a year, and then he takes this fight [against Jean Pascal] and lose. It was disappointing to us, to be honest. Now we’re stuck. It’s been really tough to find a good sturdy opponent for Bivol,” said Kornilov.
Kornilov mentioned speaking to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn about selecting the opponent for Bivol to fight on October 12 in Chicago. #12 WBA Callum Johnson would be an excellent opponent for Bivol to fight, and it’s a doable fight. Bivol has already beaten #1 WBA Jean Pascal and #2 Felix Valera. There would be no point in Bivol fighting either of them again unless the fight were ordered. Bivol beat Pascal just last November in a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision. Although Pascal is coming off of a big eight round technical decision victory over Marcus Browne last August, it’s too soon for Bivol to fight him again.
Kornilov impressed with Lomachenko and Usyk
“He’s such a good boxer that he can go into any division and stay very good,” said Kornilov about Oleksandr Usyk moving up to heavyweight. “It’s like one of those pound-for-pound fighters that is able to move down and up, and do well everywhere. It’s kind of like [Manny] Pacquiao. He can do well everywhere. He’s one of those kinds of fighters. I like his fighting style,” said Kornikov.
“Lomachenko, some people are beginning to say that he’s slowing down, and he should have looked better, but to me every time I see him fight, it’s amazing,” said Kornikov about Vasyl Lomachenko. “Him and his father. I give a lot of credit to his father, but they’re great. They’re a pleasure to watch for somebody that understands Boxing. Those are the type of fights that I like to watch. I can’t keep my eyes off the fight,” said Kornilov.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) is making his heavyweight debut against former kick-boxer Tyrone Spong (14-0, 13 KOs) on October 12 on DAZN. Kornilov expects Usyk to find success at heavyweight as well. It might be hard for him to do that unless he can bulk up more, and develop punching power. Weighing only less than 220, Usyk is going to have problems against the bigger heavyweights in the division.
Kornikov: Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk = 50-50 fight
“Very excited about that,” said Kornilov about the Artur Beterbiev v. Oleksandr Gvozdyk fight. “I have a lot of respect for both guys. My respect is growing even more that they took it, and they’re fighting each other. That’s a huge 50-50. Both are punchers. It’ll be very interesting.”
“He [Bivol] wanted Sergey Kovalev, because he’s the biggest name,” said Kornilov about Bivol having wanted to fight Kovalev in a unification fight. “Now with all that’s happening, it’ll probably be less and less meaningful to do that fight. But with the way things are going and the way things are playing out, in a year or two, there will probably be Bivol fighting someone for all the belts. That’s what it’s going towards, because we’ll have the Beterbiev-Gvozdyk winner, and we’ll have a Canelo-Kovalev winner. Somebody will fight somebody, and then there will be a fight for the unified champion, the undisputed champion,” said Kornilov.