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Canelo Alvarez instructed to initiate fight talks with Sergiy Derevyanchenko

Canelo Alvarez instructed to initiate fight talks with Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Canelo Alvarez celebrates after defeating Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight title match in Las Vegas on May 4. (John Locher / Associated Press)

Canelo Alvarez hasn’t received a congratulatory note or his new middleweight belt from the International Boxing Federation yet, but his promoter did click on an email from the sanctioning body directing him to a fight against a recently beaten title challenger.

The IBF on Wednesday directed Mexico’s Alvarez through his promoter, Golden Boy, to initiate talks with Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 knockouts) for a bout by Aug. 4 and to work to strike a deal by June 15, according to a report first published by ESPN.com and confirmed to The Times by Golden Boy President Eric Gomez.

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Although Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) could likely negotiate some wiggle room to delay the belt-retaining bout until his preferred next fight date on Sept. 14, as part of Mexican Independence Day festivities, the public appetite for a fight against Derevyanchenko is lacking.

“Canelo’s trying to make history here — and he beat the guy [Daniel Jacobs on May 4] who beat that guy [Derevyanchenko],” Gomez said of Jacobs’ Oct. 27 split-decision victory over Derevyanchenko.

While Jacobs went on to lose to Alvarez by unanimous decision, Derevyanchenko came back to win the mandatory spot by defeating a middleweight, Jack Culcay, last month. Last year, because Gennady Golovkin wouldn’t fight mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko, the IBF stripped the belt from Golovkin.

“They’re due for the mandatory, my guy’s got the mandatory and I’m asserting my right. Rules are rules,” Derevyanchenko promoter Lou DiBella told The Times.

Alvarez hasn’t fully committed to fighting Golovkin for a third time. Alvarez, now figuratively wearing the IBF, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. middleweight belts, was waiting to see how Golovkin looks June 8 at Madison Square Garden against Steve Rolls. His chance at the division’s fourth belt will likely have to wait because champion Demetrius Andrade has a title defense in late June.

Alvarez is currently on vacation following his third title victory, Gomez said, after paying the IBF its $250,000 in sanctioning fees for defeating Jacobs.

“If he wants to do [the mandatory], we’ll explore that,” Gomez said.

Alvarez does have nine fights remaining on his $365-million deal with the streaming service DAZN, but he has insisted he’d prefer legacy-defining bouts instead of affairs in which he’s heavily favored without great public interest.

He would have the option of paying Derevyanchenko what’s known in the business as “step-aside” money to instead pursue another opponent.

“If they want to work out something with us, they can,” DiBella said. “But I’m not going to apologize for using boxing’s rules to get my guy the fight.”

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