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Canelo Alvarez expected to vacate IBF super middleweight title, lose undisputed status, per report

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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s time as undisputed super middleweight champion is nearing an end. According to a report from BoxingScene, Alvarez will be vacating the IBF championship rather than fulfilling his obligation to face the sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger, William Scull.

The IBF ordered the fight between Alvarez and Scull on May 13 but initial negotiations went nowhere. Per IBF rules, either party can call for a purse bid during negotiations, which Scull’s team at AGON Sports & Events did. In response, the IBF scheduled the bid to take place on June 6.

Scull defeated Evgeny Shvedenko in July 2022 in a final title eliminator, meaning he has held status as a mandatory challenger for Alvarez for nearly two years.

Alvarez has not been handling his mandatory obligations of late, leading to David Benavidez (WBC) and David Morrell (WBA) leaving the division for light heavyweight rather than continuing to wait for fights that seemingly were never going to happen.

The Alvarez team has been more interested in a fight with Edgar Berlanga, who took over the WBA mandatory spot as No. 1 contender once Morrell left the division. Berlanga jumped seven spots in the WBA rankings after a win over Padraig McCrory in February, a fight that doesn’t rank highly in terms of strength of schedule but did suit Alvarez’s desires.

There was some debate over whether the WBA or IBF mandatory was up next in the rotation and Alvarez choosing to vacate his IBF title would end any confusion and clear the path for the fight the champion prefers. It is worth noting that Alvarez wasn’t particularly interested in the WBA’s place in the rotation when the significantly more dangerous Morrell was his mandatory.

Alvarez has largely been able to avoid being held to his championship responsibilities as a result of his status as a superstar beyond nearly any other in the sport. However, this is not the first time Alvarez and the IBF have clashed. In 2019, Alvarez was stripped of his IBF middleweight championship for failing to come to terms for a fight with mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Alvarez called that 2019 decision “unfair” while also blaming his then-promoters at Golden Boy Promotions, claiming he “did not have the knowledge of the agreement that GBP match maker had signed.”

It appears that rather than ending up in the same situation, Alvarez has chosen to take matters into his own hands and simply relinquish the IBF title.

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