Less than two weeks after winning the IBF world middleweight title in a title unification bout against Daniel Jacobs, three-division champion Canelo Alvarez has been ordered to defend his newest title by Aug. 4, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
The International Boxing Federation is calling for Alvarez to face No. 1 challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko on or before the aforementioned date in a letter sent to Alvarez's promoter at Golden Boy Productions. It also states, "Negotiations should commence immediately and be concluded by June 15, 2019."
The timeline and date suggested by the IBF seem like guidelines that would likely interfere with Alvarez's own plans for his future. He previously mentioned he would like to unify all four major middleweight titles this year, which would require facing the winner of a June 29 fight between WBO middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade and Maciej Sulecki. There is also speculation that Alvarez, who most expect to have his next fight on Sept. 14, would entertain the idea of a third match with Gennady Golovkin depending on the result of Golovkin's June 8 bout against Steve Rolls. Alvarez won the middleweight belt of Golovkin last September.
Additionally, since 2016, Alvarez has fought six of his seven fights on either the weekend closest to Cinco de Mayo or the weekend closest to Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16. The only fight not on one of those weekends was his debut bout on DAZN in December.
"It's really surprising and unfortunate that we didn't get a congratulations letter [from the IBF] like we would in the past," Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN. "We will be meeting with Canelo in the next week or so to see what he would like to do."
At 52-1-2, Alvarez has won his last three fights after a controversial draw in his first meeting against Golovkin.