By Keith Idec
Canelo Alvarez still might fight Sergey Kovalev next.
BoxingScene.com has learned from multiple sources that Alvarez has decided to wait until after Kovalev fights Anthony Yarde on August 24 to choose his next opponent. If Kovalev defeats Yarde, the mandatory challenger for his WBO light heavyweight title, Alvarez would be as interested as ever in moving up two weight classes to battle Kovalev later this year.
Now that Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Gennadiy Golovkin are going to fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title October 5, Alvarez apparently has more time to determine who he’ll fight next. The 29-year-old Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) tentatively had planned to return to the ring October 26, but DAZN executive chairman John Skipper is expected to schedule Alvarez’s return for an undetermined date in November to create enough separation between the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko and Alvarez fights so that those two streams service subscribers in separate billing cycles.
A November bout against Alvarez also would afford Kovalev at least some time to rest if he can defeat Yarde two weeks from Saturday.
Alvarez, who’s refusing to fight Golovkin a third time, had hoped to challenge Kovalev, before Alvarez’s team was forced to turn its attention toward making a mandatory defense of the IBF middleweight title versus Derevyanchenko. Once the IBF’s purse bid for Alvarez-Derevyanchenko was postponed multiple times, and Golden Boy Promotions (Alvarez) and Lou DiBella (Derevyanchenko) couldn’t come to an agreement on Derevyanchenko’s purse, the IBF stripped Alvarez of its 160-pound championship last week.
In an ironic twist, the IBF then ordered a bout between Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) and Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) for its unclaimed middleweight title. The IBF stripped Golovkin of that very same championship in June 2018, when he moved forward with negotiations for a rematch against Alvarez, rather than making a mandatory defense versus Derevyanchenko.
An official announcement of the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko fight is expected soon, perhaps by the end of this week.
Mexico’s Alvarez met with his handlers Monday to discuss how he’ll go about picking his next opponent. Discussions between representatives for Alvarez, who owns the WBA and WBC middleweight titles, and WBO middleweight champ Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) have not advanced toward any meaningful negotiations.
Andrade is, however, among the potential opponents Skipper has approved for Alvarez’s next fight on DAZN, as is Kovalev.
Negotiations between Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez and Kathy Duva – whose company, Main Events, promotes Kovalev – ended July 17, when Alvarez announced he would not go through with his plan to fight September 14 in Las Vegas. Gomez and Duva spoke again thereafter about Alvarez-Kovalev, even though the Kovalev-Yarde fight finally was officially announced July 12.
Kovalev ultimately determined that he couldn’t withdraw so late from the Yarde fight, which will take place in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Even if Kovalev would’ve wanted to fight Alvarez instead, Yarde would’ve had to have agreed to step aside, which would’ve cost Kovalev a seven-figure sum.
The 36-year-old Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) is only slightly favored to defeat the strong, younger Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs). England’s Yarde, 27, will take a steep step up in competition when he challenges Kovalev.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.