Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has been stripped of the IBF middleweight championship for failing to agree a mandatory defence against Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
The Mexican superstar’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya said in a statement to US media: “We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title.
“We have been in serious negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s promoter. We offered his team an unprecedented amount of money for a fighter of his limited stature and limited popularity, but the truth is that I’m now certain they never had any intention of making a deal. But instead they wanted to force us to relinquish Canelo’s belt. This is an insult to boxing and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world.
“This decision validates already existing concerns about the credibility of the IBF championship. Canelo inherited a mandatory challenger by defeating Daniel Jacobs, the man who beat Derevyanchenko, so to strip him of his title without giving him enough time to make the best fight possible is truly what is wrong with boxing, and I plan to aggressively consider all legal actions possible.”
Canelo unified the IBF, WBA ‘super’ and WBC middleweight titles in his most recent fight, a unanimous decision victory over Jacobs.
He has since been named the WBC’s ‘franchise’ champion with Jermall Charlo, previously the interim titleholder, being elevated to the status of full champion. Canelo has now lost the IBF belt, too.
Derevyanchenko, as the No 1 contender in the IBF rankings, could now contest the vacant belt with the next-highest contender, Gennady Golovkin.
Last year Golovkin was stripped of the IBF title, also for failing to agree a fight against mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko.
Canelo and Golovkin have shared two classic battles for the middleweight titles – the first ended in a draw, and Canelo won the rematch.
With a trilogy yet to be agreed, Canelo’s next opponent is now in doubt. He skipped his usual fight date on September 14, around Mexican Independence Day, as negotiations continued.
Fights against super-middleweight world champion Callum Smith or light-heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev had previously been mooted.
Demetrius Andrade, the WBO middleweight champion and unbeaten in 28, challenged Canelo to unify their gold a month ago.
He said: “Canelo man, let’s go. Let’s unify this division, one champion. No more running, no more games, let’s do it.