Canelo Alvarez’s reign as WBO light heavyweight champion didn’t even last two months.
In a statement released Tuesday morning by Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez announced that he has vacated the WBO’s 175-pound championship. The Mexican icon won that title by knocking out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round of their November 2 fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 29-year-old Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) jumped up two weight classes to challenge Russia’s Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs). Their scheduled 12-round fight was very competitive before Alvarez knocked Kovalev unconscious with a right hand that left the former champion slumped against the ropes.
“I know that my accomplishments in the ring have brought pride to my fans and my country,” Alvarez said. “I have long enjoyed my relationship with the WBO and appreciate all they do to preserve and enhance the sport of boxing. This agreement allows the WBO to have its light heavyweight title contested regularly and allows me to pursue bouts against the best opponents, regardless of weight class.”
Relinquishing the WBO’s light heavyweight title all but guarantees that Alvarez will move down either to super middleweight or middleweight for his next fight.
If Alvarez changes his mind about boxing Gennadiy Golovkin a third time, continuing their rivalry would be the highest-profile option available for Alvarez. Demetrius Andrade, the WBO champ, and Jermall Charlo, the WBC champ, also are appealing opponents for Alvarez at the 160-pound limit.
At super middleweight, champions David Benavidez (WBC), Billy Joe Saunders (WBO) and Callum Smith (WBA) have openly campaigned for fights versus Alvarez.
His convincing victory over Kovalev made Alvarez a world champion in a fourth weight class. He previously won world titles at junior middleweight (154 pounds), middleweight (160) and super middleweight (168).
Alvarez’s super middleweight title has been discarded by detractors because Rocky Fielding, whom he knocked out in the third round a year ago at Madison Square Garden, was the WBA’s secondary titlist 168 pounds. Fielding also had been stopped in the first round by Smith, the WBA’s legitimate super middleweight champ, three years earlier.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.