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Boxing news, rumors: Canelo Alvarez gets unexpected mandatory challenger; Floyd Mayweather set for exhibition

Plus, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. appears ready to return to the ring while Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia continue to feud

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Undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may have his next opponent. AGON Sports & Events, promoter of William Scull, has stated that the IBF has ordered a fight between Alvarez and Scull, with the fighters’ teams having four weeks to come to an agreement and avoid the fight going to a purse bid.

Scull (22-0, 9 KO) is a name that comes out of nowhere if you’ve followed the last year of chatter of men Alvarez could face in the ring. However, Scull defeated Evgeny Shvedenko in July 2022 in a fight that was a final title eliminator for the IBF belt. That victory established Scull as a mandatory challenger, but his name didn’t carry the same weight as other fighters who were situated as mandatories for Alvarez by other sanctioning bodies, including David Benavidez (WBC) and David Morrell (WBA), who were both considered Alvarez’s stiffest tests at 168 pounds.

After the WBC and WBA both didn’t enforce the mandatory obligations for Benavidez and Morrell, both men gave up on waiting for a shot they believed would never come and moved up to light heavyweight.

Alvarez defeated Jaime Munguia earlier this month and seemed to shoot down the idea of a future Benavidez fight again, claiming he would have to be presented with a $200 million offer to make the fight happen. Alvarez cited Benavidez’s tendency to add as much as 25 pounds between the weigh-in and fight night, despite Alvarez having moved up twice in his career to fight light heavyweights and even repeatedly teasing the idea of testing the waters at cruiserweight.

Other potential opponents for Alvarez for that May date included Jermall Charlo after Alvarez had defeated Charlo’s twin brother, Jermell, in September, and Edgar Berlanga, who would have been one of Alvarez’s weakest opponents to date.

Alvarez still seems to have interest in a Berlanga fight and Berlanga was somehow shot from No. 7 to No. 1 in the WBA rankings on the strength of a win over unheralded Padraig McCrory in February. After Morrell announced his move to light heavyweight, the WBA announced they would create a secondary title for Morrell’s June fight with Radivoje Kalajdzic and that Berlanga was now Alvarez’s mandatory challenger.

Whether Alvarez’s team attempts to claim the WBA mandatory should be next in the rotation to land the Berlanga fight he wants and avoid a much smaller fight with Scull or attempts to pay Scull to step aside is still to be seen. Scull would have to accept step-aside money in the latter scenario.

Alvarez could also choose to do nothing and potentially be stripped of his IBF championship, losing his undisputed status at 168 pounds. It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened between the fighter and the sanctioning body. Alvarez was stripped of his IBF middleweight title in 2019 when he failed to come to an agreement to fight then-mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Of course, the option does exist for Alvarez to simply fulfill his championship duties and fight a challenger who has held mandatory status for two years.

More boxing news, rumors

  • The saga of Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia continues to take interesting turns. Haney’s team sent the New York State Athletic Commission a nine-page letter on Monday, detailing their feelings that the fight should not only be overturned to a no contest following Garcia’s failed pre and post-fight drug tests, but that their fighter should be declared winner by disqualification. Haney’s team cited Garcia’s use of IV bags in the lead-up to the fight, the failed drug tests and Garcia claiming he purposefully missed weight by more than three pounds to have an advantage in the fight. Garcia responded to the report on X, formerly Twitter, claiming he wanted the money back that was paid to Haney’s team for missing weight as well as citing NYSAC rules that state drug testing collection must be done by the commission, despite having agreed to VADA testing for the fight.
  • ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reports that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz are set for an exhibition rematch of their 2011 fight on Aug. 24. In their first meeting, Ortiz grew frustrated with Mayweather’s elusiveness before delivering a blatant intentional headbutt, which came during a moment when Ortiz was landing good shots against the ropes. Ortiz hugged Mayweather before the referee deducted a point. Ortiz tapped Mayweather’s glove as he was admonished by the referee and then attempted yet another apologetic hug once the referee restarted the fight. Given the fight was back on, Mayweather shoved Ortiz back and delivered a left hook and right straight that knocked Ortiz down for the count.
  • In another strange boxing story, ESPN’s Fernando Barbosa is reporting that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is set to return to action in an eight-round fight at 190 pounds on the undercard of Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson on July 20. Chavez’s opponent is reportedly selected and awaiting approval from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Chavez has not fought since December 2021 when he took a decision win over David Zegarra. That was a bounce-back fight for Chavez after he lost to UFC legend Anderson Silva and missed weight by 10 pounds ahead of the fight. Since then, Chavez has battled personal demons, entering treatment facilities and facing arrests, as recently as this January, when he was arrested on gun charges before entering a residential treatment facility. Chavez’s placement on the card could be an attempt to set up a fight with Paul, the influencer-turned-boxer whose resume is mostly built on the backs of faded stars. Chavez had discussed a fight with Paul back in 2021, telling TV Boxeo, “I hope I can get a few million (by fighting) Jake Paul. If he beats me, I’ll retire. I won’t get paid. I don’t want money if I don’t beat him.”

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