Report: IBF Orders Alvarez to Fight Scull Next

Canelo Alvarez Ordered by IBF to Face Mandatory Challenger William Scull

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, one of boxing’s brightest stars, has been ordered to face William Scull, an unbeaten mandatory challenger from Cuba now based in Germany. This development marks the next chapter in Alvarez’s illustrious career, with a negotiation period assigned for both parties to reach an agreement and avoid a purse bid hearing.

Alvarez’s Reign and Legacy

Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) holds the distinction of being The Ring champion at 168 pounds and possesses all four major sanctioning body titles. Since his December 2020 victory over Callum Smith, he has made seven successful defences of The Ring championship, with four of these coming after his knockout of the then-undefeated IBF titlist Caleb Plant in November 2021, which unified the division.

Throughout his reign, Alvarez has faced a mix of mandatory and voluntary challengers. His third-round knockout of Avni Yildirim in February 2021 and his points victory over England’s John Ryder last May stand out among his mandatory title defences.

Scull’s Path to Mandatory Challenger

William Scull (22-0, 9 KOs) earned his position as the IBF mandatory challenger following a points win over Evgeny Shvedenko in July 2022. This title eliminator saw Scull, who resides in Berlin, secure a unanimous decision. Since then, Scull has had three more fights, with his most recent victory being an eight-round win over Sean Hemphill on May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, on the undercard of Alvarez’s fight against Jaime Munguia.

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Edgar Berlanga, ranked number 10 by The Ring in the super middleweight division, was also in attendance that evening. Berlanga (22-0, 17 KOs) was expected to be the next in line as the WBA mandatory challenger after defeating Padraig McCrory with a sixth-round knockout in February 2024. Many anticipated that Alvarez would face Berlanga in September, following the rotation of sanctioning body mandates.

Navigating Sanctioning Body Requirements

Alvarez has navigated the complexities of mandatory defences and sanctioning body rotations throughout his career. Despite holding multiple titles, unified champions like Alvarez are typically granted more flexibility in scheduling their defences. However, the IBF’s regulations are stringent, requiring champions to honour mandatory title fights or risk losing their belts.

IBF rule 5.c mandates that champions must comply with ordered mandatory title fights. Failure to do so can result in the IBF withdrawing recognition of the title. This scenario is not unfamiliar to Alvarez, who was stripped of his middleweight title in 2019 after a prolonged dispute over a mandatory defence against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. This incident ultimately led to the end of Alvarez’s long-term relationship with Golden Boy Promotions.

Potential Outcomes and Future Prospects

While the ordered fight with Scull is the immediate focus, Alvarez retains the option to negotiate terms that might allow for a voluntary defence, provided both parties agree. Historically, sanctioning bodies have shown flexibility in such situations if it benefits all involved.

Alvarez’s ability to navigate these challenges has cemented his status as one of boxing’s most versatile and resilient champions. His encounters with various contenders, both mandatory and voluntary, underscore his commitment to facing the best in the division.

As negotiations unfold, the boxing world watches closely. The potential bout with William Scull represents another significant milestone in Alvarez’s career, promising to add another chapter to his storied legacy. Whether Alvarez will successfully defend his IBF title or face another dramatic twist in his career remains to be seen.

This situation encapsulates the high stakes and intricate politics of professional boxing, where the path to greatness is often as challenging outside the ring as it is within it. Alvarez’s response to this latest challenge will undoubtedly shape the next phase of his career, reaffirming his position in the annals of boxing history.

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