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(Reuters) - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez says he has vacated the WBC middleweight title he retained in Las Vegas earlier this month and is now making plans to fight undefeated middleweight Gennady "Triple G" Golovkin "as quickly as possible".
Eleven days ago, Mexican Alvarez improved his career record to 47-1-1 with 33 knockouts when he stopped Britain's Amir Khan in the sixth round of their title bout at the T-Mobile Arena.
Immediately after that fight, Alvarez invited WBA and IBF champion Golovkin of Kazakhstan into the ring, fuelling the growing clamor for a clash between the two, and on Wednesday the Mexican confirmed that negotiations were under way.
"Today, I instructed my team at Golden Boy Promotions to continue negotiating a fight with Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin and to finalize a deal as quickly as possible," Alvarez, 25, said in a statement.
"I also informed the WBC that I will vacate its title. For the entirety of my career, I have taken the fights that no one wanted because I fear no man.
"Never has that been more true than today. I will fight 'GGG' and I will beat 'GGG' but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines."
Alvarez, who claimed the WBC middleweight crown with a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in November, had been given a May 22 deadline by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman to start negotiations with Golovkin or instead be stripped of the belt.
"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 to see," said Alvarez.
Kazakhstani Golovkin, 34, is an aggressive counter-puncher who holds the IBO and WBC middleweight belts and boasts a remarkable 35-0 record that includes 32 knockouts.
In his most recent fight on April 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, he flattened challenger Dominic Wade in the second round to post his 22nd consecutive knockout.
The prospect of a matchup between power hitter Alvarez, whose only loss in 49 professional fights was to undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, and the always aggressive Golovkin is certainly one to savor for boxing fans.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue