Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is no longer boxing’s undisputed welterweight champion.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed the IBF has ceased recognition of Crawford’s reign due to his inability to satisfy a mandatory title defense obligation. The unbeaten three-division champ inherited interim IBF titlist Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis as an overdue title defense, but cannot comply with the sanctioning body’s rules on negotiations due to his contractually bound rematch clause with Errol Spence Jr. whom he dethroned earlier this summer.

“On August 25,the IBF sent a letter to TBC Promotions directing Terence Crawford to begin negotiations with interim Champion Jaron Ennis,” an spokesperson informed BoxingScene.com. “Negotiations were to be concluded by September 24.

“On September 22, the IBF received an email from Harrison Whitman representing Crawford indicating that the agreement for the Spence v. Crawford bout contains an immediate rematch provision which Errol Spence has exercised. As such, Terrence Crawford is unable to engage in negotiations with Jaron Ennis.”

Crawford (40-0, 31KOs) fully unified the welterweight division when he stopped Spence in the ninth round to win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles atop their July 29 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The switch hitter from Omaha, Nebraska entered the fight as the reigning WBO titlist, which he won in June 2018 and successfully defended for the seventh time.

The bout came with a contractual clause which allowed for the losing fighter to enforce a rematch. Spence (28-1, 22KOs) exercised that right, shortly after the IBF ordered Crawford to next face Philadelphia’s Ennis (31-0, 28KOs).

Crawford’s team went nearly the full length of the 30-day negotiation period before informing the IBF of its commitment to a second fight with Spence.

Sanctioning bodies generally do not honor rematch clauses as a justifiable exception for mandatory title fights. IBF Rule 3.B., in fact, prohibits the practice.

“No contract for a Championship contest shall contain any clause or any provision, whatsoever, guaranteeing or in any way assuring or promising either contestant a return Championship contest where such clause or provision interferes with the mandatory defense of a title.”

Most big fights tend to violate that rule, Crawford-Spence falling right into that category. It was a risk that Crawford was willing to take to secure a career-defining victory and a life-changing, healthy eight figure payday to go along with it.

“Based on the forgoing, the IBF has withdrawn recognition of Terence Crawford as the IBF Welterweight world champion,” confirmed the IBF.

Ennis claimed the interim IBF title in a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over Karen Chukhadzhian on January 7 in Washington D.C. The IBF agreed to sanction the fight under such terms given that Ennis—as the mandatory challenger at the time—did not have a path to immediately challenge for the title.

Spence was ordered at the time to next face WBC mandatory challenger Keith Thurman. The sanctioning bodies are bound to a rotational system for unified titlists, which left the WBA and IBF in waiting. The WBA already recognized Eimantas Stanionis as its secondary ‘Regular’ titleholder and ordered his own mandatory title defense.

Ennis was permitted to challenge for the interim IBF title, which he since defended in a ninth-round knockout of Roiman Villa atop a July 9 Showtime Championship Boxing telecast from Atlantic City. The fight came with the official ruling that he would next challenge the Crawford-Spence winner, at least from the IBF’s viewpoint.

An update has yet to come on a Crawford-Spence rematch.

There was prior bickering about the weight and terms for such a fight. Spence noted after his first career defeat that he planned to move up in weight, to which Crawford was initially amenable immediately after their fight. However, Crawford—who reserves the right to determine the weight, per their contractual agreement—has since stated a willingness to fight at welterweight.

Whatever the case, he is now on the hook to either proceed with that fight or resume his welterweight championship reign, which now comes with one less title in tow.

Ennis will have to make a mandatory at some point, whenever the IBF is able to determine such a challenger. The unbeaten, rising star will be permitted a voluntary defense in the meantime.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox