Saul Alvarez has been operating at the highest end of boxing for over a decade. He has generated millions of dollars in PPV revenue, ticket sales, and merchandise. He is a household name in his native Mexico and is considered the biggest name in the sport, even following his shock loss to Dmitry Bivol.

Following this loss, the mystique and an element of invincibility were stripped away from the cryptic Mexican pugilist. However, all too often in boxing is, a fighter considered finished or overrated because of a loss. It is harnessing a toxic atmosphere for fighters and promoters who carefully manage a route, sometimes to avoid the toughest challenges. Much like the poker chart in poker, boxing promoters undertake a delicate balancing act to measure the potential payoff when calculated with the overall risk and make their move accordingly. As a result, Gennady Golovkin was essentially all in on a risky hand, but it catapulted Canelo into the mainstream, despite the contentious decision.

Marketability plays an increasingly significant role in the development of fighters, but Canelo often bucks this trend and fights the best fighters; he just bit off more than he could chew, moving up to light-heavyweight to fight such a seasoned and naturally solid champion like Bivol. 

What Went Wrong in The Bivol Fight?

In 2022, Alvarez climbed into the ring with Bivol, and some analysts predicted it would be a tough fight for him. However, the bookmakers’ odds were overwhelmingly in favour of the Mexican – plenty of people claimed they picked Bivol to win after the fight. Still, there weren’t many who said it beforehand. 

Ultimately, Canelo had no plan B. Instead, he was outboxed and manhandled by the much naturally larger opponent. Every time he tried to formulate an attack, the concise and meticulous straight counterpunching of Bivol interrupted Canelo’s flow. It was a significant setback for Canelo, who had signed a deal with broadcaster DAZN for $300 million, the largest ever offered to an athlete in sports history, just a couple of years prior.

The Next Stage

The next stage for Canelo is to avenge the loss to Bivol. Many are calling for a titanic unification fight at light-heavyweight between Artur Beterbiev and Bivol to find out who the chief of the whole division is. Canelo will have to get in line. He was beaten fairly comprehensively by Bivol, and there was no dispute about which way the decision should have gone. 

It is a case of him and his team having to regroup. His next outing is against his mandatory challenger, the competent John Ryder. He needs to get past Ryder impressively to inject a bit of promise into the Bivol rematch. 

The fight wasn’t close, and Canelo must stamp his authority to try and sell the idea that the rematch outcome would be any different, which many people believe it won’t be. 

What Lies Ahead for Canelo

Let’s say; in theory, he gets past a capable John Ryder impressively. The next stage will be to take on Bivol. If Beterbiev beats Bivol and Ryder puts in a good showing against Canelo, this fight could lose even more of its shine. Therefore, we’d say the arc for Canelo to become undisputed P4P #1 again is to hope Bivol cements his claim as the world’s top light heavyweight. If Bivol beats Beterbiev, Canelo-Bivol is the biggest fight in boxing. So, forget Spence vs Crawford and Fury vs Usyk; let’s focus on the boxers who wanted to fight each other. 

If Canelo beats Bivol, there isn’t anything else for him to do in boxing. So, will he try and move up to heavyweight and surpass Roy Jones Jr as the last middleweight to win a world title at heavyweight? 

Maybe he will go down the exhibition route as Floyd Mayweather has. Other than Bivol, the only other fighter who beat Canelo is the legendary Floyd Mayweather, who started with his bout against Conor McGregor and has since snowballed into fighting anyone with a decent Instagram following and a pulse. Although McGregor’s build-up preparation was somewhat unconventional, and he never really had a chance against the mesmerizing brilliance of Floyd, maybe Canelo might like the idea of making just as much money for much less work; let’s be honest, who doesn’t like the sound of that idea?

Canelo’s redemption will play out if he can find a way to beat Bivol. The main concern is that he looked totally out of ideas by the halfway stage of the fight. It’s hard to see a game plan he could piece together to push Bivol back or outbox the formidable Kyrgzkstani. If he can avenge that loss, the world is his oyster. He could cement himself as a four-weight world champion and may even set his eyes on cruiserweight or a decider with Bivol. However, let’s not get too carried away, Ryder is no joke, and Beterbiev could derail the idea altogether.