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Canelo Alvarez vacates WBC belt, says he still seeks Gennady Golovkin fight

Alvarez v Khan

Canelo Alvarez lands a right to the body of Amir Khan during their WBC middleweight title fight Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Canelo Alvarez will vacate his World Boxing Council middleweight title, but said in a prepared statement that he wants to continue negotiating with Gennady Golovkin for a fight considered the biggest on the boxing landscape.

“After much consideration, today, I instructed my team at Golden Boy Promotions to continue negotiating a fight with Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and to finalize a deal as quickly as possible,” Mexico’s Alvarez said in the statement.

“For the entirety of my career, I have taken the fights that no one wanted because I fear no man. Never has that been more true than today. I will fight GGG, and I will beat GGG, but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines.

“I am hopeful that by putting aside this ticking clock, the two teams can now negotiate this fight, and GGG and I can get in the ring as soon as possible and give the fans the fight they want to see.”

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The 25-year-old Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 knockouts) successfully defended his WBC title for the first time May 7, opening Las Vegas’ new T-Mobile Arena to boxing with a sixth-round knockout of England’s Amir Khan.

Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), who already wears the World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation middleweight belts, is the WBC mandatory challenger to Alvarez and after letting him fight Khan previously, he’s demanded that Alvarez either fight him or give Golovkin the belt.

Alvarez had until Tuesday to agree to a deal with Golovkin, with AT&T Stadium in Dallas in play as a possible site.

“We have a lot of respect for Canelo and know he’s not afraid to fight anyone,” Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler told the Los Angeles Times. “They said they needed more time with the deadline coming up next week. They didn’t want to hold the belt hostage and stayed true to their word.

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“I still think the Canelo fight will happen. We’ll continue to negotiate and hope we can make the fight happen as soon as possible.”

Loeffler said he is awaiting notification from WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman about what happens with the belt, explaining, “If Canelo is not the champion, Gennady will be automatically recognized as the full champion. That, I know for sure.

“We’d still like to make the fight with Canelo. Just because he doesn’t have the title doesn’t mean his value is diminished. He’s still the biggest draw in boxing. If we can’t make the fight, we’ll explore the other options on the table for Gennady. A fight with [World Boxing Organization] champion Billy Joe Saunders is attractive, as are [others].

“We’ll continue to negotiate to try and make the fight in September. Canelo is the first option and the biggest fight we can make.”

Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, issued a statement saying:

“There is no denying that Canelo is the biggest star in the sport of boxing. He is eager to get in the ring with ‘GGG’ to show the world that he is also the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, but we won’t negotiate under a forced deadline. Now that the WBC title is off the table, I am hopeful that ‘GGG’ and his promoter will come to the table in good faith and get this deal done.”

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter: @latimespugmire


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