By Keith Idec
Now that Mikey Garcia is firmly committed to moving up two divisions to challenge Errol Spence Jr., he has relinquished another IBF title.
Garcia gave up the IBF’s lightweight championship Tuesday and his handlers canceled a purse bid scheduled for noon for his mandatory defense versus Richard Commey. Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter, also confirmed to BoxingScene.com that the IBF is expected to order a Commey-Isa Chaniev fight for its vacant lightweight title.
The Garcia-Commey purse bid was canceled and Garcia vacated the IBF lightweight title, as first reported by ESPN.com, because Garcia plans to face Spence for the IBF 147-pound championship, probably late in February.
The IBF indicated earlier this month that there was an agreement in place for Garcia to defend his IBF lightweight title against Commey. Later, however, a purse bid was scheduled for Tuesday at the IBF’s headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.
Earlier this year, Garcia gave up the IBF junior welterweight title he won by beating Sergey Lipinets by unanimous decision March 10 in San Antonio. The 30-year-old Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) will be a big underdog against Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), but the four-division champion will make much more money for facing Spence than Commey.
The date for the bout between Ghana’s Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Russia’s Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) hasn’t been determined.
Commey is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, two spots above the third-ranked Chaniev. The No. 2 spot in the IBF’s lightweight rankings is vacant, which makes Chaniev the next available contender to box Commey.
The New York-based Commey is 3-0 since dropping back-to-back split decisions to Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov in 2016.
Commey’s close loss to Easter occurred in a 12-round fight for the then-vacant IBF lightweight title in September 2016. Commey, 31, scored a flash knockdown during the eighth round of that bout, but he lost on two of three scorecards in Reading, Pennsylvania (114-113, 112-115, 113-114).
Chaniev, 25, is 3-0 since losing a unanimous decision to fellow Russian Fedor Papazov (21-2, 12 KOs) in their 12-rounder 17 months ago in Riga, Latvia.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.