SAUL ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s mission to collect and keep all four world middleweight titles appears to be getting tougher by the day.
Not long ago, the WBC announced they would offer Alvarez the consolation prize of being their ‘Franchise Champion’ while simultaneously stripping him of his WBC title in order for Jermall Charlo to become their new full middleweight champion.
Now the IBF could be getting in on the act, too.
Rather than doing away with the Mexican’s belt and fabricating some phony title to make him feel loved, though, the IBF simply hoped a deal for Alvarez to defend against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, his mandatory challenger, would have been completed by June 15. Alas, this never happened. Instead, the deadline passed and the two respective camps, according to ESPN, didn’t even get around to talking about the potential fight.
So, what next?
Chances are, Alvarez, 51-1-2 (35), won’t prioritise the IBF middleweight title over possible fights against the likes of Sergey Kovalev, at light-heavyweight, Callum Smith, at super-middleweight, or even Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Munguia, fellow champions at middleweight. He has bigger fish to fry, so to speak, and isn’t at the stage of his career where his legacy, already considerable, will be defined by the number of belts he has in his possession. Been there, done that.
Which means, if Alvarez does indeed vacate the belt, or is stripped, the likelihood is that Derevyanchenko will fight for the vacant belt against – drum roll – Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin, a man Alvarez knows only too well. Funny how things work out.
Both Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz have courted their fair share of controversy over the years but will look to avoid the c-word when they meet for a second time on September 28.
Their first fight, which took place last March, was apparently controversial – to some – due to the amount of time Wilder was given to recover (by the referee, David Fields) after being badly hurt by Ortiz. Of far greater relevance, though, is the controversy Wilder has generated for tasteless comments about wanting a “body” on his record, as well as the controversy that surrounds Ortiz following not one but two failed performance-enhancing drug tests (the first in 2014, the second in 2017).
But, of course, neither the boasts nor the drug-taking help to sell the rematch, so Wilder works with what he’s got.
“With Ortiz, there was a controversy about if they gave me more time (to recover),” the WBC heavyweight champion told World Boxing News. “You know the first time around the commentators did a lot of damage.
“It’s crazy that I work for Showtime. But you have guys that work for Showtime in the commentating team always negative towards me. It’s always like I’m getting helped.
“They made it seem like when the referee called me over, he was giving me extra energy or extra time to breathe. I don’t know where they get that from, but some people ran with that.
“Besides that, another reason why I’m fighting Ortiz is because no one else wants to fight him. They always say he’s old but no one at the top is giving him his opportunity.
“Of course, I’ve got ties to Ortiz dealing with his daughter (a rare skin condition) and my daughter (spina bifida). So that’s the reason I blessed him the first time.
“I’ll be honoured to bless him again because none of these guys want to fight him. I’ll beat him a second time and then come to Tyson Fury.”
Though Wilder has, as far as we know, gone about his work ‘clean’ as a pro, his next two opponents, Ortiz and Fury, have both fallen foul of the drug testers. Resigned to it, Wilder admits battling an opponent with a chequered history is these days par for the course.
“I have no worries, man,” Wilder, 41-0-1 (40), said when asked about Ortiz’s prior drug issues. “I’ve been through so much in this sport.
“These guys are going to do what they want to do and the objective of this game is don’t get caught. The main objective of the whole thing is to not get caught but a lot of these guys do things to get caught over and over again.
“If Ortiz makes the approach to want to cheat, shame on him. That’d be bad for him and his family. It’s bad that he already doesn’t get the big fights because no one wants to fight him, but that’d be really taking away from his family. That’d be a selfish move if he did that.”
The heavyweight division has been all about selfish moves so far this calendar year, what with champions avoiding champions and marinating blockbuster unification fights only to get it all wrong. Yet, in the form of Wilder vs. Ortiz II, a respectable repeat offering of a thrilling first fight, as well as Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Andy Ruiz Jnr, things are starting to pick up and make some kind of sense again.