Canelo Alvarez insists he wants to make the biggest fight boxing has to offer.
He just doesn't want to be pressured into it by an "artificial deadline."
So, the popular Mexican champion vacated his WBC middleweight title Wednesday rather than be pressured into fighting Gennady Golovkin. The two champions had until Tuesday to negotiate the blockbuster fight, which many had pegged for Sept. 17 — possibly at AT&T Stadium near Dallas.
"I will fight GGG and I will beat GGG, but I will not be forced into the ring," Alvarez said in a statement. "I am hopeful that by putting aside this ticking clock, the two teams can now negotiate this fight and GGG and I can get in the ring as soon as possible and give the fans the fight they want."
His decision means Golovkin will have the interim tag removed from his WBC title.
"Gennady Golovkin is hereby recognized as the undisputed WBC middleweight champion of the world," sanctioning body president Mauricio Sulaiman said. "The WBC wishes Canelo Alvarez great success in his career and will certainly look forward to seeing Golovkin vs Alvarez materialize in the future."
The two powerful punchers have been on a collision course since November, when Alvarez won his title from Miguel Cotto. Golovkin became the mandatory challenger, but Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya wanted to have his biggest attraction fight an interim bout, so those involved worked out a deal.
Golovkin (35-0, 32 knockouts) pushed his knockout streak to 22 straight when he blew away Dominic Wade in two rounds on April 23. Two weeks later, the 25-year-old Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) did his part by with a brutal one-punch knockout of Amir Khan in the sixth round of their fight in Las Vegas.
Afterward, Alvarez motioned to Golovkin seated ringside as if to call for the fight. And at the post-fight news conference, Alvarez and De La Hoya said they were ready to fight the punishing Golovkin.
"There is no denying that Canelo is the biggest star in the sport of boxing," De La Hoya said. "He is eager to get in the ring with GGG to show the world that he is also the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but we won't negotiate under a forced deadline.
"Now that the WBC title is off the table," he continued, "I am hopeful that GGG and his promoter K2 Promotions will come to the table in good faith and get this deal done."
Golovkin has been trying to unify the four major titles, and now has the full WBC belt along with his IBF and WBA belts. Billy Joe Saunders holds the WBO version of the title, but a showdown with Alvarez — whose only defeat came against Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be exponentially more lucrative.
"Everyone knows with Gennady's style and Canelo's style people aren't going to be disappointed with the action in the ring," Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler recently. "They are two machismo warriors."