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Realizing his number would never be called for a spot in the Canelo Sweepstakes, secondary WBA super middleweight champion David Morrell Jr will follow in the footsteps of David Benavidez and move up to 175 to face Radivoje Kalajdzic for the interim belt this coming June.

Per the WBA’s announcement, Morrell (10-0, 9 KO) does not have to vacate his current belt until and unless he emerges victorious. That’s not necessarily a given; “Hot Rod” (29-2, 21 KO) is on an appropriately hot 5-0 (4 KO) streak and his only losses were a robbery split decision against Marcus Browne and a KO loss to Artur Beterbiev. This is as tough if not tougher than any of Morrell’s fights at 168.

The bigger news is that Edgar Berlanga (22-0, 17 KO), who somehow jumped seven spots in the WBA rankings on the strength of stopping Padraig McCrory in February, is now Canelo Alvarez’s mandatory challenger instead of Morrell’s. Canelo and his team have long been keen on meeting Berlanga in what would be arguably Canelo’s weakest matchup since stopping Avni Yildirim, and at least that had the excuse of Yildirim being contractually owed a title shot after his controversial bout with Anthony Dirrell.

It would be an extremely WBA thing to do if they sat on Morrell’s guaranteed title shot for years and then immediately gave it to Berlanga, and my guess is that’s what we’re getting.

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