Shortly after the IBF sent a letter to middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez to defend his title against mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the governing body has clarified its stance on Alvarez’s next fight.
The IBF originally told Alvarez he must defend his title against Derevyanchenko next with a negotiation deadline of June 15. But the IBF has now said that the letter was erroneously sent out and that Alvarez can ask for an exception to not have to fight his mandatory challenger next, according to Michael Benson.
Told by the IBF that their decision to order Canelo Alvarez vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko yesterday was an "ERROR" - they sent the letter too soon. Canelo is unified, so mandatories are rotated and the IBF aren't next in line. He can also request an exception when it is called.— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) May 16, 2019
Per IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar, who spoke with Boxing Scene, Alvarez can request an exception and because of the rotation system unified champions have when it comes to mandatory challengers, he wouldn't be required to immediately face Derevyanchenko next.
“Serg[i]y Derevyanchenko is his mandatory. However, since he is a unified champion there is a rotation. Alvarez also has the right to request an exception,” Salazar said.
This is the second time Derevyanchenko has worked his way up to becoming the mandatory challenger to the IBF middleweight title. Derevyanchenko got his world title shot last October when he fought Daniel Jacobs at Madison Square Garden. Although Derevyanchenko was not successful in beating Jacobs, he was remained in the title hunt by being placed in a title eliminator against Jack Culcay on April 13, which Derevyanchenko won.
Alvarez also holds the WBA "Super" and WBC middleweight titles and defeated Jacobs in a title unification back on May 4 in Las Vegas. Alvarez, who is in the middle of a multi-year deal with DAZN, is being planned to fight next in September on Mexican Independence Day weekend, but his next opponent is unclear. After the May 4 fight, Oscar De La Hoya said a few names who could face Alvarez next, including Gennadiy Golovkin, but Derevyanchenko's name was not mentioned.