There is a good chance that unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez's next fight will be against Sergey Derevyanchenko, one of his mandatory challengers.
A purse bid scheduled for noon ET on Tuesday at the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey, has been postponed until Friday because Alvarez promoter Golden Boy Promotions and Derevyanchenko promoter Lou DiBella are engaged in serious discussions and nearing a deal, sources with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.
If Alvarez, whose team never sought an exception from the IBF to do a fight other than his mandatory defense, does not face Derevyanchenko next he will be stripped of that 160-pound belt. Alvarez has given up belts in the past but has spoken openly in recent months about his desire to become the undisputed middleweight champion by holding all four major belts at the same time.
If the fight between Alvarez and Derevyanchenko, which has been in serious talks only in recent days, according to the sources, is made it would take place in the fourth quarter.
Alvarez, 28, of Mexico, announced last week that he would postpone his originally planned date of Sept. 14 -- which is on Mexican Independence Day weekend, when he usually fights -- saying in a statement that he has a "responsibility of delivering the most exciting and competitive fights possible. That's why Golden Boy and my team have decided to postpone the date in order to do right by my fans by promoting the best fight possible and with the best opponent possible."
DAZN, which signed Alvarez to a five-year, 11-fight, $365 million deal last fall, wants Alvarez to fight former unified champion Gennady Golovkin, for the third time. DAZN signed Golovkin to a six-fight, nine-figure deal earlier this year. But Alvarez, while not opposed to a third fight with Golovkin, does not want to fight him next. DAZN must still approve Derevyanchenko as an opponent.
Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs), 33, a 2008 Ukrainian Olympian with a massive amateur background, suffered his lone defeat by split decision to Daniel Jacobs for a vacant world title in October in New York.
Jacobs went on to lose a unanimous decision in his next fight to Alvarez in their unification bout May 4 in one of the year's biggest fights. On April 13, Derevyanchenko won a unanimous decision over Jack Culcay in a title elimination bout to become the IBF's mandatory challenger again.
There had been negotiations for Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) to move up two divisions to light heavyweight to challenge world titlist Sergey Kovalev, but he had a mandatory defense due against Anthony Yarde. With time running short and the sides far apart on money, Kovalev's team instead finalized the bout with Yarde for Aug. 24, leaving Alvarez to either wait to see what happens in that fight and revisit it afterward or move on to another opponent.