By Keith Idec
The Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev fight is not dead yet.
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com that negotiations are ongoing for Alvarez to fight Kovalev on October 19 or October 26 in Las Vegas. Kovalev has a WBO light heavyweight title defense scheduled for August 24 against Anthony Yarde in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev’s hometown, but that fight would be scrapped if Golden Boy Promotions (Alvarez) and Main Events (Kovalev) can come to an agreement soon.
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez also is negotiating for Alvarez to face Sergiy Derevyanchenko on either of those same dates. An IBF purse bid for that mandated middleweight title fight was postponed Tuesday so that Golden Boy and Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, could continue negotiating.
If Alvarez instead moves up two weight classes to challenge Kovalev, the IBF could strip him of its 160-pound championship for not making his mandatory defense versus Derevyanchenko.
An intriguing Kovalev-Alvarez fight appeared as if it would not happen once Alvarez announced July 17 that he would not fight September 14, as planned. Pushing back the Mexican superstar’s return to later this year seemingly meant Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) would move forward with his fight against England’s Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs).
BoxingScene.com has learned, though, that DAZN executive chairman John Skipper still has only approved Kovalev and Gennadiy Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) as potential opponents for Alvarez’s next fight. Skipper only will allow Alvarez to fight Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) next if Alvarez guarantees that he would face Kazakhstan’s Golovkin a third time if he were to defeat Derevyanchenko.
Alvarez adamantly has refused to fight Golovkin again thus far.
Skipper signed Alvarez and Golovkin to nine-figure contracts in large part because he thought their third fight would help generate a substantial amount of subscription for the fledgling streaming service he runs. DAZN didn’t get Alvarez to agree in writing to fight Golovkin a third time, however, thus he isn’t contractually obligated to do it.
Meanwhile, Kovalev and Yarde have continued to train as if their fight still will take place August 24.
Yarde and his promoter, Frank Warren, have agreed to take a step-aside fee for allowing Alvarez-Kovalev to happen. The two sides haven’t agreed on how much Yarde will be paid to step aside, which has complicated Alvarez-Kovalev negotiations because Kovalev wants more money.
If Kovalev and Yarde move forward with their fight, Alvarez’s handlers would have to decide soon on whether to face Derevyanchenko according to DAZN’s terms because the IBF won’t afford Golden Boy and DiBella much more time to negotiate.
Derevyanchenko, who’s No. 1 in the IBF’s 160-pound rankings, could fight Golovkin for the vacant IBF title if the New Jersey-based sanctioning organization strips Alvarez. Golovkin is ranked No. 3 by the IBF, but he is the next available contender to fight Derevyanchenko because the No. 2 position in the IBF’s ratings is unoccupied.
The IBF stripped Golovkin of its middleweight championship in June 2018 because he declined to make a mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko. Golovkin instead fought Alvarez in a rematch last September 15 for much more money than the Derevyanchenko bout would’ve paid him.
Alvarez defeated Golovkin by majority decision in their 12-round rematch. Their first fight resulted in a controversial split draw in September 2017.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.