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De La Hoya to 'aggressively consider' legal action as Canelo is stripped of IBF title

‘This is an insult to boxing and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world.’

Canelo celebrates his unification victory over Danny Jacobs.
Canelo celebrates his unification victory over Danny Jacobs.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS CEO Oscar De La Hoya is to “aggressively consider” legal action after his star fighter, unified middleweight world champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, was stripped of his IBF belt due to his failure to secure a fight with IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Canelo [52-1-2, 35KOs], who is still the WBC ‘Franchise’ champion and WBA champion, won the IBF version of the middleweight championship in a unification clash with Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs as recently as May.

He was subsequently mandated to defend it against Ukrainian contender Derevyanchenko [13-1, 10KOs], who lost to Jacobs on a split decision in a fight for the same title, then vacant, last October.

Following Canelo-Jacobs, the IBF ordered the Mexican to negotiate with Derevyanchenko immediately before rowing back and affording him a 30-day period in which he could file a request to instead first make a voluntary title defence.

Canelo and Golden Boy then explored other options, such as a third bout with rival Gennady Golovkin, and a move up two weights to take on former 175-pound world champion Sergey Kovalev.

Neither of these bouts came to fruition, and though the aforementioned 30-day window came and went without Canelo and Golden Boy formally filing for an exception — they believed the IBF were mistaken in their belief that the 29-year-old would have to defend their title first — a Derevyanchenko fight came back around to the top of the queue.

Boxing: Canelo vs Jacobs Canelo v Jacobs in May. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

A Canelo-Derevyanchenko purse bid was scheduled to be heard on 15 July, with that deadline subsequently pushed back on four occasions over the last fortnight.

However, the parties failed to agree terms, and so the IBF relieved Canelo of their middleweight crown — a stipulation which was reportedly agreed by both camps should negotiations fall through.

Rather ironically, Derevyanchenko is now set to face Golovkin in the autumn for the vacant IBF title.

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“We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title,” said De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter-in-chief.

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,” the former six-weight world champion added.

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.

BOXING 2018 - Danny Jacobs Defeats Sergiy Derevyanchenk by Split Decision Derevyanchenko lands a right hand on Jacobs. Source: Joel Plummer

Derevyanchenko’s promoter, Lou DiBella, responded to De La Hoya’s claims on Twitter:

“This is trash,” he said. “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?

“No time?! You had 30 day negotiation period. Purse bid SCHEDULED and not cancelled with IBF until morning of. No exception requested. WE GAVE 3 EXTENSIONS that were a courtesy to @Canelo.

“So we couldn’t agree on the $. Chill and grow up, Oscar. Nothing personal; just #boxing biz.”

It has been reported in the States that Canelo’s representatives have already reached out to WBO World middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, with a view to making a world-title unification bout for the autumn.

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