Canelo-Derevyanchenko purse bid ordered by IBF

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One of the two titles Canelo still holds is in technical danger.

With Canelo Alvarez missing his window to negotiate for a mandatory IBF middleweight title bout against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the sanctioning body has ordered a purse bid for Tuesday, July 23, as Derevyanchenko’s team have told the organization they are no longer willing to negotiate.

Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KO) became mandatory challenger with an April 13 win over Jack Culcay in Minnesota, about six months after he lost in a vacant title fight to Daniel Jacobs, having previously been mandatory challenger for Gennadiy Golovkin when Golovkin had the IBF belt.

Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KO) took the IBF belt from Jacobs on May 4 in Las Vegas, which unified three of the four major titles in the middleweight division. But since then, Alvarez has lost recognition as the WBC titleholder, as that group “promoted” him to something they’re calling “franchise champion,” elevating Jermall Charlo from interim to world titleholder at the same time. Realistically it’s just a way for the WBC to charge more fighters world title sanctioning fees, but whatever, it’s done.

Alvarez had previously stated an intention to fully unify at 160, but he doesn’t seem particularly keen on fighting WBO titleholder Demetrius Andrade, the WBC claim is questionable at best, and now this IBF business is an issue.

Alvarez could, in theory, fighting Derevyanchenko on Sept. 14, when the Mexican superstar is scheduled to return. Or he could cut a deal with Derevyanchenko’s team to step aside for the time being, not losing the belt and Derevyanchenko not losing mandatory status.

But perhaps the most likely outcome here is just Canelo winding up stripped of this belt and Derevyanchenko fighting someone else for the vacant title. Alvarez’s name has been attached to a third fight with Golovkin, a move to 175 to fight Sergey Kovalev, a move to 168 to fight Callum Smith, and Andrade to a lesser extent.

Still, I’m not going to say Canelo won’t fight Derevyanchenko, because Canelo throws curveballs pretty regularly. He pulled fights with Amir Khan and Rocky Fielding out of nowhere, and even Daniel Jacobs in May was a bit of a surprise given promoter Oscar De La Hoya’s previous insistence that Jacobs would not be Alvarez’s May opponent. So we’ll see what Alvarez’s plans wind up being, and if unifying at 160 — which means keeping this IBF title — is still a priority.

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