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WBC sanctions Canelo Alvarez vs Callum Smith as vacant title fight

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David Benavidez held the belt before losing it on the scale earlier this yaer

Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sorry, Avni.

Canelo Alvarez’s December 19th clash with Callum Smith has just received some additional stakes. On top of unifying Alvarez’s WBA “world” title with Smith’s “super” belt, the fight will officially determine the WBC super middleweight champion.

“The WBC is extremely proud to have such tremendous fight for the vacant WBC Super-Middleweight title,” said WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. “Canelo and Callum will give the world a superb closing of a difficult year and will make fans from around the world celebrate with much entertainment and enjoyment. I would like to personally praise Avni Yildirim for his exemplary collaboration to make this a reality.”

“I am delighted that the winner of this fight will be crowned the WBC World champion at 168lbs,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Canelo Alvarez is the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, and Callum Smith is the number one Super-Middleweight on the planet – so it is fitting for the winner to proudly wear the green and gold belt on December 19.”

The green belt has had a rather tumultuous last few years, largely due to David Benavidez. “El Bandera Roja” was stripped in 2018 after testing positive for cocaine, leaving Anthony Dirrell to fight Avni Yildirim for the vacant belt. That ended in a controversial technical decision for Dirrell, which prompted the WBC to name Yildirim the mandatory challenger for whoever won between Benavidez and Dirrell.

Then Yildirim tested positive for steroids, and while he was subsequently cleared, Benavidez instead elected to fight Roamer Alexis Angulo. Then Benavidez lost the belt on the scales, the WBC ordered Yildirim to fight Canelo for the belt, and now here we are.

This should make unification more feasible, at the very least. WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders defended his belt against Martin Murray last weekend, while IBF champ Caleb Plant, previously expected to face Canelo this month, will reportedly return on January 30th.