Hearn: Canelo won’t fight on Sept. 18 as planned

Boxing

For the third consecutive year, Canelo Alvarez won’t fight on Mexican Independence Weekend.

The pound-for-pound king planned to fight Sept. 18, but after prolonged negotiations for two different fights, Alvarez has decided to move his next bout to November, promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN on Friday.

The Mexican star wanted more time to both train at his gym in San Diego and plot out a deal for his next fight, sources told ESPN.

“Sept. 18 became tighter and tighter and we made the decision today to focus on November,” said Hearn, who promoted Alvarez’s last three fights.

Alvarez was closing in on a deal to meet Caleb Plant on Sept. 18 for the undisputed 168-pound championship, but the pact fell apart at the 11th hour. Alvarez was set to earn more than $40 million guaranteed, with Plant earning upward of $10 million. The proposed bout would have seen Alvarez return to pay-per-view (PBC on Fox); Alvarez’s last six fights were streamed by DAZN.

Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) holds three super middleweight titles, while Plant holds the fourth. After the Plant fight collapsed, Alvarez moved on to talks with light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. Alvarez and Bivol agreed to a 172-pound catchweight, per sources, for a fight that would have been staged Sept. 18 for Bivol’s title. DAZN and Triller both made offers for the event, sources said.

Now, it’s unclear when — and against whom — Alvarez will fight.

“We made our deal on our side; we made that deal two weeks and we had an understanding of what was going to happen,” Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov told ESPN. “We were waiting to see if the Canelo side was going to finalize. Maybe we’ll find out what the reason was at some point.

“At this point, we just want to know if they still want to do the fight. If not, we have other options — maybe Zurdo Ramirez or [Artur] Beterbiev. Those are good fights. Maybe Marcus Browne. Whatever the best option is, that’s what we’ll do to keep Bivol as active as possible at this point.”

Cinco de Mayo Weekend and Mexican Independence Day Weekend are the traditional dates for boxing’s top star — Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather owned the dates before Alvarez.

With Mayweather retired, Alvarez grabbed the September date in 2016 for a fight with Liam Smith and fought on that weekend each of the next two years (both super fights against Gennaidy Golovkin).

The 31-year-old Alvarez hoped to fight in September 2019 but dragged-out talks forced him to move that fight, too. He ended up scoring an 11th-round KO of Sergey Kovalev in November 2019 to win the 175-pound title.

Alvarez appeared on the cusp of returning to the weight class for a bout with another Russian champion, but with plenty more time to negotiate and explore options, other opponents could be considered for the four-division champion.

Ostensibly, the fight with Plant could now be revisited. When the deal fell apart, the fight was no longer feasible; boxers usually hold eight-week training camps. The window to close a deal with Bivol was closing, too. And now, there’s more time for everyone to chart out plans.

The date shift also opens up the schedule for other fighters unconnected to Alvarez, Bivol and Plant. DAZN, for example, was holding up other fights from being finalized with so much budget money preliminary allocated to Alvarez.

Will it be Plant, Bivol or someone else when Alvarez returns to the ring? That’s where the intrigue lies for now.

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