Canelo Alvarez: Could the Mexican snub a Dmitry Bivol rematch and retire?

Following a surprising defeat against Dimitry Bivol in his bid to land the WBA light heavyweight title, Canelo Alvarez has some serious questions to answer.

While the 31-year old Mexican is said to want an immediate rematch against the skilled and as yet unbeaten Bivol, it remains to be seen if Alvarez will jump back into the ring with the Russian.

Having made plans to fight Gennadiy Golovkin in September, Alvarez must now decide if he wants to instead risk damaging his reputation with an all or nothing rematch against Bivol.

Make no mistake about it, another loss to Bivol would certainly remove plenty of lustre from the twice beaten Gudalarajan's CV. While Alvarez would remain very much a star, back to back defeats would surely result in the loss of a zero or two in future paychecks.

Significantly smaller in stature, there was no shame in Alvarez's loss - but it was a clear and convincing performance by Bivol - even if the judges saw it much closer in awarding the WBA champion a unanimous but narrow 115-113 victory.

Some bouts scream out rematch - others, not quite so much. This is very much a case of the latter and not the former.

Giving up plenty of natural advantages, Alvarez was nothing if not ambitious in his bid to dethrone the 20-0 Russian, but as the old adage goes - there are weight classes for a reason.

Certainly, plenty of great champions have risen through the ranks to claim unparalleled feats of greatness - Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to name but two. Yet, having already climbed from the 147lb weight class, Alvarez was simply taking too big a step up in challenging the tall and rangy Bivol.

With that being said, it remains likely that Alvarez will still decide to invoke his rematch clause, but should he decide on another path, there remain plenty of options in his natural weight classes between 160 and 168lbs.

Trilogy with Golovkin

A natural alternative and already pencilled in for September, a third bout with GGG remains a valid and likely better route for Alvarez to take in his next bout.

At 40 years old, there can be little doubt that the ageing Kazakh is now someway past his prime, but following his win against Ryoto Murata in Japan, Golovkin is an itch that Canelo could well decide is worth scratching.

In possession of the IBF, IBO middleweight titles and WBA (Super) middleweight titles, the opportunity to claim yet more world glory is undoubtedly one that Canelo cannot refuse - particularly given Golovkin's recent performances, which have suggested he is a long way removed from his fighting prime when the pair last traded blows in 2017.

Gennadiy Golovkin has fought Canelo twice in 2017 and 2018

Beyond the titles on the line at 160lbs, GGG brings plenty of attention, and while the bout is not quite the box office smash it might have been a couple of years earlier, a trilogy with the Kazakh is surely on Alvarez's agenda should he pass up the opportunity to rematch with Bivol.

Take on the young guns

At 31, Canelo is by no means an old fighter, but with over 60 fights on his resume, the clock on his now seventeen-year career could yet be ticking more rapidly than we might imagine.

While desires to fight on for another seven or eight years have been mentioned, Alvarez is very much in his prime.

He might believe that stepping through the weight classes is his best bet at securing long-term legitimacy of legacy but cementing his status as the best middleweight and super middleweight of his era should be the immediate priority.

Fighting at 168lbs, the unbeaten David Benavidez returns to the ring on May 21 as he challenges David Lemieux for the vacant WBC interim super middleweight title.

Widely considered the most dangerous threat to Canelo's 168lb crown, a bout with the brilliant 25-year old unbeaten Arizonan would give Canelo the opportunity to fully assert his dominance at his best fighting weight.

Having virtually cleaned out the division, Benavidez is surely the most significant challenge to Canelo's titles in the super middleweight ranks, and while there will always be one more young contender looking to steal his thunder, this is one such bout that should not fall by the wayside.

Retire at the top

Canelo Alvarez has won world titles in four divisions

It might seem unlikely, but Alvarez has now been fighting at world championship level for over a decade.

Sixty-one bouts is already eleven more than Floyd Mayweather managed, and while he might not have taken any serious punishment, there is a valid argument that says the end could come sooner than we think.

Already seriously wealthy, Alvarez could retire tomorrow and live a comfortable existence for the rest of his days. Of course, with plenty of riches still on offer, it remains an outside bet that Canelo should call it a day but his increasing love of golf might offer a clue on his plans for a career outside of the ring.

Joking aside, Canelo has enjoyed a sparkling and brilliant career. While there remains plenty of reasons to fight on, there may come a time in the not too distant future when fewer, and less rewarding challenges make retirement a more appealing proposition.

At this point, there is little doubt that Alvarez will continue to fight on, but the direction he chooses in the coming months could yet prove vital in determining whether he will be considered one of the greatest ever to lace 'em up.

READ MORE: WBC open to Canelo vs Bivol rematch at super middleweight

Latest news