Word is out that the IBF won’t strip the 160 belt off GGG, but that the New Jersey-based sanctioning body also won’t sanction the May 5 GGG vs Vanes Martirosyan fight as an IBF title defense.
So, the IBF told ESPN’s Dan Rafael, Team GGG must agree to get their guy in the ring with the IBF No. 1 middleweight contender, Sergey Derevyanchenko, in his next bout after the Vanes scrap. GGG has 90 days to get that done after the Martirosyan bout, or else.
Or else what?
He’ll get that belt stripped off of him, seems to be the consensus among those in the know, because no one sees a GGG vs Derevyanchenko fight happening by August 3, not with it quite likely that GGG would fight Canelo in September.
And if that happens, who would Derevyanchenko fight for the vacant belt? Well, the No. 2 slot is open in the IBF, as is often the case. (They sometimes have the No. 1 and 2 slots open, to allow for box-offs.)
Daniel Jacobs is No. 3, so maybe, you do the math.
Derevyanchenko manager Keith Connolly, an NYC finance guy, sounded pleased with the development.
“I am grateful the IBF did the right thing and upheld Sergey’s rights to fight for the title,” Connolly said. “We look forward to fighting GGG next or for the vacant title against the next highest-ranked middleweight that is willing to challenge Sergey in the next few months.”
He also spoke to the fighting spirit of his Russian pugilist.
“Sergey was never willing to take a step aside fight, he was always interested in fighting for the title next. It will be interesting to see over the next couple months how this plays out and who he fights for the title.”
Tom Loeffler, GGG’s promoter, told us that, “The IBF granted our exception request, whereas many people were erroneously speculating that they would strip him for May 5.”
Point being, it’s better to have options, rather than simply lose that belt as of now. Loeffler isn’t assuming, as he told us when he went on the Everlast podcast “Talkbox” on Tuesday, that it’s written in stone that GGG and Canelo will rematch in September.
So, he’s not really ruling anything out, and isn’t inclined to erase any “maybes” off the board of possibilities. That’s not unwise.