The IBF on Monday formally ordered Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Gennady Golovkin to meet for its vacant middleweight world title. As expected, the sanctioning body sent a letter to both camps telling them to begin negotiations immediately for a fight that will fill the 160-pound world title stripped from Canelo Alvarez on Thursday, when his team did not finalize a deal with mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko.
"The IBF middleweight title was declared vacant on August 1, 2019. The IBF is therefore ordering that a bout take place between the two highest ranked contenders to fill this vacancy," IBF championships chairman Carlos Ortiz Jr. wrote in a letter to Alex Dombroff, the attorney for Derevyanchenko promoter Lou DiBella, and John Hornewer, the attorney representing Golovkin's GGG Promotions.
The Derevyanchenko and Golovkin camps have 30 days, or until Sept. 4, to make a deal. They then have another 15 days to submit signed contracts to the IBF for the fight that is slated to take place Oct. 5 -- the date Golovkin exclusive broadcaster DAZN has him penciled in for the second bout of his six-fight, nine-figure deal. If the camps cannot make a deal, the IBF will order a purse bid, but DiBella told ESPN he did not think that would be necessary.
"We knew the letter was coming and we've already been talking, and I'm very confident in short order that we will be able to close a deal," DiBella said.
The IBF also dictated that the winner of the vacant title must make his mandatory defense against the leading available contender within six months.
Alvarez promoter Golden Boy had been working on a deal with DiBella for Alvarez to defend his unified title against Derevyanchenko in late October. But after the purse bid was delayed and the negotiating period was extended multiple times, Alvarez was stripped of the belt per the terms of a deal Golden Boy made with the IBF that the fight would either be finalized by last Thursday afternoon or the title would become vacant.
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), 28, of Mexico, claimed he was not aware of the deal Golden Boy made with the IBF, but he was stripped anyway, paving the way for former unified champion Golovkin to face Derevyanchenko for the vacant title.
Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs), 33, of Ukraine, who suffered his lone defeat by split decision to Daniel Jacobs for the vacant IBF belt in October, outpointed Jack Culcay in a title eliminator on April 13 to gain the mandatory position. Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), 37, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, who had previously been stripped of the same title by the IBF, was the next contender in its rankings.
Golovkin had hoped for a third fight with Alvarez this fall, but Alvarez declined to make the bout despite pressure from DAZN, which also has Alvarez under contract.