By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez has been stripped of his IBF world middleweight title. Furthermore, he is no longer going to be facing Sergiy Derevyanchenk as his next opponent, as was widely expected. Canelo was supposed to face Derevyanchenk as his mandatory, but a deal between the two camps was unable to be made. The IBF subsequently stripped boxing’s biggest star of one of his belts after having given numerous extensions for a deal to be reached. Although Canelo has been said to be one of the few boxers on earth to not need a belt, being stripped of a major title never makes for good PR.
Perfectly aware of this, Canelo’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, released an official comment on the matter. “We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title,” he began. “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.”
In other words, De La Hoya argues that Derevyanchenko’s camp is looking for a way to get a crack at the title other than having to face the highly skilled Canelo. “This is an insult to boxing,” De La Hoya continued, “and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world.” The Golden Boy Promotions honcho then directly attacked the IBFs reputation. “This decision,” he said, “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.” De La Hoya’s statement then ended in what was essentially the strongest way imaginable: “I plan,” he said, “to aggressively consider all legal actions possible.”
Yet Lou DiBella, who reps Derevyanchenko, had a different take on the matter. “This is trash,” he tweeted in response to De La Hoya’s firery statement. “How dare the @IBFUSBAboxing not take bribes, not kneel to Oscar and Ginger, and actually have the NERVE to abide by their WRITTEN rules. Credibility? What dat, Oscar? Where’s yours?”
As things now stand, Canelo is still looking for an opponent for his next fight. He reportedly refuses outright to face arch foe Gennady Golovkin a third time (at least for the time being), although that might be the fight most fans would want to see. DAZN, the streaming service which pays Canelo an enormous sum of money, also wants a third Golovkin fight Canelo, however, is known for his stubbornness. There was talk on Thursday evening that Canelo may fight WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade next. That would prove to be a major fight between two top middleweights – should it be made. As for Derevyanchenko, it is said he is now in line to face an yet to be determined opponent for the IBF strap.