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Canelo Alvarez stripped of IBF middleweight title as drama surrounding next fight continues

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It’s easier to list which fighters Canelo Alvarez isn’t facing next than which ones are in the running to actually fight him.

Boxing: Canelo vs Jacobs Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Strap yourselves in, because the story of Canelo Alvarez’s next fight is extremely convoluted.

First and foremost, Canelo apparently has no interest in a Gennady Golovkin trilogy, or at least not this fall. DAZN only approved two opponents for Alvarez’s return (which was pushed back from his traditional Mexican Independence Day weekend slot): WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, and Golovkin. Talks with Kovalev’s camp sputtered and Sergey will defend his title against Anthony Yarde on August 24th, instead of against Canelo. Golovkin is evidently a non-starter.

Short on options, Alvarez and team went back towards IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs), an opponent DAZN initially didn’t approve, but then later gave the green light to. That changed as the clock was ticking for Canelo to either take the fight or risk getting stripped of the belt. After multiple delays of the deadline, no deal was struck, so Alvarez has lost one of his three middleweight titles.

ESPN has more details:

But the sides were far apart on the money even though, according to sources, streaming service DAZN, which has Alvarez under exclusive broadcast contact, had approved Derevyanchenko as an opponent with the stipulation that Alvarez take as much as a $5 million reduction on his $35 million guarantee for his next bout.

Derevyanchenko promoter Lou DiBella did not want to discuss the details of what went down with Alvarez promoter Golden Boy on Thursday but did tell ESPN: “I will confirm that that we did not reach a deal by the IBF deadline.”

For better or worse, the IBF is the most stringent sanctioning body when it comes to enforcing mandatory challengers.

Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) won a unanimous decision against Daniel Jacobs to take the IBF title away from the American, who initially earned the belt with a thrilling split decision win over Derevyanchenko last October. It was expected that with Alvarez and GGG would be on course for a third fight, especially after Golovkin’s KO of Steve Rolls, but that’s been shelved until 2020.

Derevyanchenko is actually a very good and entertaining middleweight, but the Ukrainian is likely not in Canelo’s league and certainly not a subscription-driving B-side opponent that DAZN desires.

So what are we getting instead? If there’s no Alvarez vs. Kovalev (as insane as that fight sounds) or Alvarez vs. Golovkin 3, what’s going to happen?

Well according to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, the IBF is expected to order Derevyanchenko against Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), which is honestly a great scrap for the vacant title. As for Alvarez, it looks as if talks are now underway for him to unify with WBO champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs), a tricky, crafty boxer who has been actively calling Canelo out. Andrade is not known for being an action fighter, but he’d certainly better than Derevyanchenko from a competitive standpoint, and perhaps even Daniel Jacobs.

GGG vs. Derevyanchenko would be penciled for October 5th, while Canelo vs. Andrade would be on October 26th.

If GGG and Canelo prevails in their respective October dates, then maybe they do meet in 2020 for all four titles. Maybe.

We’ll keep you posted on this shitshow.