Canelo Alvarez admits it was not easy for him to come to terms with the only defeat he has suffered in the ring in nearly a decade.
The current undisputed champion of the 168-pound division saw his momentum stymied in May 2022, when he went up to light heavyweight to challenge one of the division’s titlists in Dmitry Bivol.
Alvarez lost unanimously after 12 rounds, with all three judges scoring it 115-113 in favor of the Russian. The rude awakening came immediately after Alvarez had fully unified the super middleweight division with a stoppage win over Caleb Plant in November 2021. Alvarez’s only other career defeat occurred in 2013, to Floyd Mayweather.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) appeared intent on going through with a rematch with Bivol, but the two sides could not come to an agreement. Bivol’s representatives have suggested the idea was a non-starter because Alvarez, they contend, was not willing to increase Bivol’s purse from the first fight.
A rematch is not likely to materialize anytime soon as Alvarez recently signed a three-fight deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions; Bivol is backed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. Alvarez’s first fight on the deal comes against undisputed 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo on Sept. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Obviously, nobody is prepared to lose, right?” Alvarez said during episode 1 of Showtime’s All Access series for Alvarez-Charlo. “Obviously I was very hurt by the defeat but in the end, you have to accept it.”
Alvarez, 33, rationalized his loss to Bivol as a natural consequence of his ambition. A career middleweight, Alvarez has earned titles in four divisions. (He won a light heavyweight title when he knocked out Sergey Kovalev in 2019).
“And you also have to look at the circumstances in which I lost, moving up in weight and trying to continue making history,” Alvarez said. “You have to see how you lost and also accept it and take it like a man and move on. It doesn’t stop there.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.