Bivol hoping to land unification bout vs. Alvarez

LAS VEGAS — Light heavyweight world titlist Dmitry Bivol had more than a passing interest in the title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev, which is why he was ringside on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

What Bivol saw was Alvarez, boxing’s biggest star, move up two weight divisions and starch Kovalev by brutal 11th-round knockout to claim his 175-pound title and win a belt in his fourth weight division. On Tuesday, Bivol said on social media that he would like to fight Alvarez to unify the titles.

While he was in Las Vegas, Bivol told ESPN that, of course, he wanted the winner of Saturday’s fight as well as other top opponents in the deep division.

“I just want to fight for belts or against big names,” Bivol said.

Besides a potential fight with Alvarez, Bivol said he is interested in facing top contender and former super middleweight titlist Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez or unifying with Artur Beterbiev, who unified the two other major titles by 10th-round knockout of Oleksandr Gvozdyk on Oct. 18.

“Gilberto Ramirez has a big name. He said before he wanted to fight me,” Bivol said. “I respect him as a person. We know each other. We are friendly a little bit, but I can give him a chance. Beterbiev is busy with a mandatory defense (in his next bout) but I would like to fight him too because he has two belts. I respect him, too. We know each other.

“My team tells me we can make the fight against Beterbiev and Ramirez, but we have to see if they’re interested and if they make an offer.”

Fresh off his win against Kovalev, Alvarez has not yet decided whether he will remain at light heavyweight or defend the belts he holds at super middleweight or middleweight when he returns to the ring in May.

“I don’t think about names. I want the belts,” Bivol said. “I know all of these guys are really dangerous and me too. All of us are dangerous.”

Bivol has been fighting on DAZN but is a broadcast free agent and he has also been working with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and Main Events but is not contractually died to them. So Bivol, who has made six title defenses — most recently a near-shutout decision over Lenin Castillo on Oct. 12 in Chicago — has flexibility to go wherever the biggest fight is.

“At the end of the day we are open to anybody and we can go fight anywhere,” manager Vadim Kornilov said. “It’s about getting the right offer because I believe Bivol can beat all of them.”

Kornilov and Top Rank, which promotes Beterbiev and Ramirez, said they have been talking about a possible deal but Kornilov said, “There has not been an offer. We’ve had conversations that we’re available to unify, but there hasn’t been a specific conversation about, ‘Let’s do this, here’s the date, here’s the offer.'”

If Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs), 28, of Russia, can’t get a unification bout with Alvarez — which is probably a long shot — he and Kornilov like the idea of a fight with Ramirez while Beterbiev is handling his mandatory defense against China’s Meng Fanlong (probably in March or April). And if Bivol and Beterbiev both win those bouts, then they’d like to make a unification fight between them.

“We’re ready to do that fight,” Kornilov said.

Added Bivol, “I really like that plan.”