IBF strips unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez of title for not reaching fight agreement

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After negotiations for a fall fight against former world title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko fell apart on Thursday, the IBF made the decision to strip unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez of his title. 

The decision came after the IBF allowed multiple postponements for a purse bid in order to allow Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) and Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) more time to negotiate. Alvarez, who still holds the WBA, WBC (franchise) and lineal middleweight crowns, inherited the Ukranian "Technician" as a mandatory opponent in his May unification win over Daniel Jacobs. 

Derevyanchenko, who suffered his lone defeat by split decision to Jacobs in 2018, could be headed toward an October vacant title bout against former champion Gennady Golovkin that would air on the all-sports streaming app DAZN. Alvarez, meanwhile, continues to look for an opponent after what has become an extended soap opera due to his reported refusal to fight GGG in a trilogy bout until the Kazakh slugger regains a world title. 

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Alvarez hasn't shied away from sharing his outright dislike of Golovkin despite the fact that the two took part in a pair of blockbuster pay-per-view bouts (both of which ended in controversial decisions) that became instant fight-of-the-year contenders. The 29-year-old Mexican superstar was initially planning to move up to 175 pounds to challenge titleholder Sergey Kovalev until talks fell apart. 

In recent days, Alvarez was rumored to be negotiating a possible October unification bout against unbeaten WBO champion Demetrius Andrade. Either way, the public breakdown of Alvarez-Golovkin III talks seemed to ultimately expose DAZN's lack of final say on matchmaking despite paying a combined $465 million to sign the two middleweights after HBO ceased boxing programming late last year. 

Multiple outlets also reported this week that Alvarez was willing to accept less money for his next fight in order to avoid having to fight Golovkin next spring. 

Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez's promoter and the CEO of Golden Boy, issued a statement late Thursday regarding his dislike of the IBF's ruling despite the fact that the sanctioning body stayed true to its mandated beliefs. Under IBF rules, a unification fight trumps a champion's need to make an immediate mandatory defense but only if the request is made within a specific time frame, which Golden Boy did not adhere to. 

"We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world's best fighter to relinquish his world title," De La Hoya's statement read. "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."

Last month, the WBC made an unprecedented decision to elevate Alvarez to its "franchise" champion status, allowing interim titleholder Jermall Charlo to become its regular champion. The move means Alvarez is not forced to face mandatory challengers and is allowed to instead seek the biggest fights available as the sport's most marketable star. 

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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