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Canelo Alvarez To Reportedly Vacate IBF Title As He Rejects William Scull IBF-Mandated Fight

Canelo Alvarez To Reportedly Vacate IBF Title As He Rejects William Scull IBF-Mandated Fight featured image
Canelo Alvarez is rumored to vacate his IBF super middleweight title due to allegedly not wishing to face longtime IBF mandatory William Scull, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Canelo Alvarez will not be an undisputed champion for much longer as reports indicate he has refused to participate in a scheduled purse bid for June 6th, which was based off of a mandate by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) for Alvarez and Cuban contender William Scull to face each other. Per the IBF’s rules, a refusal by a IBF champion to participate in a scheduled purse bid will see the champion stripped of their title―unless the champion willingly forgoes their title to discontinue the purse bid proceedings.

Only two weeks ago, the IBF had ordered Canelo Alvarez (61-2-2, 39 KO’s) and the relatively unknown William Scull (22-0, 9 KO’s) to start negotiations, with Scull having finally been on the brink receiving an opportunity to fight for a world title after remaining a mandatory contender for two years without having a shot at the IBF 168 lbs belts.

According to BoxingScene’s Lance Pugmire, who referred to “multiple sources” as his source of information, Canelo Alvarez will be relinquishing his IBF super middleweight belt before or during the June 6th purse bid proceedings, thereby effectively removing his current undisputed status. However, BoxingScene also claimed that the IBF itself still expects Alvarez to face Scull regardless of the latest rumors.

Refusing to participate in the purse bid would culminate in Alvarez being stripped of his IBF title. Though no reason for this potential move has been given, it is speculated that Canelo Alvarez would gain little from a fight with William Scull who does not have the standing or reputation within the sport to either draw a significant amount of attention towards a fight with him―which would see Alvarez paid much less than normal, or there would not be anything significant to gain for Alvarez in the court of public opinion given Scull’s lack of a notable resume.

Given fighting Scull will not see Alvarez rake in any significant money compared to aforementioned boxers, and neither will he gain any credit from fighting the Cuban fighter who has had little to no notable fights, a case of both might explain why Alvarez would relinquish his title. Alvarez had previously demanded an exorbitant sum of money to face WBC mandatory challenger David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KO’s), while he had also asserted that he would not gain any respect from fighting Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s) who he deemed to be “too small”.

In the event of Alvarez potentially being stripped or relinquishing his title, mandatory challenger William Scull―who is also ranked #1 on the IBF’s 168 lbs ranking boards―would then likely face #2-rated Vladimir Shishkin (16-0, 10 KO’s) for the vacant IBF title.

Canelo Alvarez To Reportedly Vacate IBF Title As He Rejects William Scull IBF-Mandated Fight image 1
The IBF’s super middleweight rankings as of April, 2024.

With both WBC interim champion David Benavidez and WBA “regular” champion―David Morrell (10-0, 9 KO’s), the two highest-rated contenders in the division―set to be occupied fighting at light-heavyweight in the upcoming months, the only viable contender remaining would be Edgar Berlanga (22-0, 17 KO’s) who the WBA has designated as the WBA mandatory challenger to Alvarez’ WBA title, confirming that Morrel’s “regular” title is meant to deny him an opportunity to face the WBA “super” champion in Alvarez. Notoably, despite Morrell having had less than half the fights Berlanga has, the Cuban fighter has shown himself to be more of a threat compared to Berlanga.

French contender Christian M’billi (27-0, 23 KO’s) would also be considered a viable challenger for Canelo Alvarez after Morrel and Benavidez, but like the two aforementioned fighters the Frenchman might be considered too much of a threat to Alvarez, or be perceived to have too little of a reputation like Scull to make Alvarez consider fighting him.

With Edgar Berlanga already being considered the #1 contender by the WBA and backed by a promotional behemoth in Matchroom, Alvarez would likely benefit more financially and competitively from facing Berlanga.

The prospect of Alvarez losing his IBF title, something that happened to him before when he was a middleweight and could not reach an agreement to face then-IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko (15-5, 10 KO’s), would see the division undergo some necessary changes if William Scull were to face Vladimir Shishkin―allowing for a new world champion to emerge to shake the division up given Alvarez has yet to fight the best contenders in the division.