Canelo Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol have finalized a deal for a May 7 fight for Bivol's light heavyweight title on DAZN pay-per-view, Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn announced Friday.
Alvarez is the undisputed super middleweight champion but will return to 175 pounds for the fight. In his lone light heavyweight bout, he scored a brutal 11th-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
Hearn said it is a multifight deal for Alvarez, with a second bout to take place in September. The second fight, assuming he defeats Bivol, will see Alvarez return to 168 pounds for a highly anticipated trilogy fight against Gennadiy Golovkin on Sept. 17, sources told ESPN. Golovkin, who signed a six-fight deal with DAZN in 2019, agreed to the Alvarez fight to complete the deal, sources said.
First, Golovkin will meet Ryoto Murata in April in Japan in a middleweight title unification on DAZN. If Golovkin prevails, he'll then move up to 168 pounds for the third meeting with Alvarez on DAZN PPV, sources said.
Alvarez and manager/trainer Eddy Reynoso are also planning a third fight with Matchroom that will take place in December, sources said. The three-fight plan is worth up to $160 million, according to sources.
"I am very happy with this fight against Dmitry Bivol," Alvarez said. "It is another great challenge for me and my career -- especially as I go up in weight and face an exceptional light heavyweight champion like Bivol. ... We will be ready, like we always are."
The other package that was presented to Alvarez, ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, came from PBC. Al Haymon offered Alvarez a one-fight deal worth upward of $45 million for a May 7 defense of his undisputed super middleweight championship against Jermall Charlo, sources said. Another PBC offer extended to Alvarez, 31, was for two fights and more than $100 million for a May fight with Charlo and a September bout with David Benavidez, sources said.
Instead, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) chose the DAZN route and the appeal of another megafight with Golovkin. Alvarez fought Golovkin twice for middleweight supremacy, and both bouts were commercial bonanzas. Each produced more than $20 million in gate receipts and more than 1 million pay-per-view buys.
The September 2017 bout resulted in a controversial draw. One year later, Alvarez defeated Golovkin via majority decision. Four more years later, they could meet a third time, but this time, it would be for all the marbles at 168 pounds.
But first, they'll have to triumph in their upcoming bouts. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) was set to fight Murata in December before COVID-19 restrictions in Japan forced the fight's postponement. Golovkin turns 40 in April and hasn't competed since a December 2020 victory over Kamil Szeremeta.
Against Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), Alvarez will face a formidable challenge. The 31-year-old Russian fighter is adept at controlling range with his jab and is a precise puncher. Bivol is rated No. 2 by ESPN at 175 pounds.
"I always only wanted to fight the best!" said Bivol, who has made eight defenses of his title, including a decision over Joe Smith Jr. in May 2019. "I believe that the rest of my goals will begin [to] materialize on May 7!"
Alvarez is coming off another banner campaign, one that won him honors as ESPN's 2021 Fighter of the Year. He competed three times last year, including stoppage wins over Billy Joe Saunders in May and Caleb Plant in November, to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship.