Saul “Canelo” Alvarez unified three world titles after defeating Daniel Jacobs in May.
About three months later, the face of boxing is down to one middleweight strap. On Thursday night, the IBF stripped Alvarez of the 160-pound title after negotiations for his proposed mandatory defense against Sergiy Derevyanchenko fell apart.
According to ESPN, the governing body had already allowed for several postponements of a purse bid for the fight before stripping Alvarez of the IBF title, leaving him with just the WBA middleweight belt.
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Upon learning of the news, Oscar De La Hoya blasted the IBF over its decision.
"We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world's best fighter to relinquish his world title," De La Hoya said in a statement to ESPN. "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."
He added: "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."
To that, Derevyachenko’s promoter, Lou DiBella, took to his Twitter account and fired back at De La Hoya.
This is trash. 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? https://t.co/wZ7mfKG7wD pic.twitter.com/nXumhZlF3S— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) August 2, 2019
The IBF’s decision comes after the WBC boosted interim champion Jermall Charlo to its full titleholder, declaring Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) as its “franchise champion” in late June.