Canelo Alvarez Looking to add Avni Yildirim’s Name to Long List of Victories

Star boxer Canelo Alvarez will defend the WBC and WBA super middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim this weekend in Miami.

Updated: Feb. 26, 2020 • 10:01 AM ET

Canelo Alvarez is looking to prove he’s boxing’s pound-for-pound king.

The WBC and WBA super middleweight titles will be on the line this Saturday, as Canelo Alvarez will defend the belts against former title challenger Avni Yildirim in Miami.

In a move from light heavyweight, Alvarez (54-1-2) is coming off a dominant, unanimous decision victory over Callum Smith in December to win the WBA and WBC super middleweight belts. In his previous bout, Alvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round to win the WBO light heavyweight title.

Claiming titles in his career in four different weight classes, Alvarez’s only loss came in 2013 to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by unanimous decision.

Including Smith and Kovalev, the Mexican brawler has key victories over Daniel Jacobs, Rocky Fielding, Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron and Alfonso Gomez. Nevertheless, Alvarez has faced criticism regarding the opponent in his upcoming bout. Alvarez, though, doesn’t pay attention to his critics.

“I don’t have to give any explanation [for fighting Yildirim],” Alvarez told Boxing Scene. “I really don’t have to give any explanation, because they’re never gonna be happy with anything. I just fought number one [Smith] at 168 pounds, and they’re not happy with that, either. So, I have nothing to say and nothing to explain. I don’t care.”

Yildirim, however, is the WBC’s mandatory challenger, and Alvarez is not looking beyond him.

“I see a strong fighter,” Alvarez said of Yildirim. “I see a fighter that goes forward, obviously. He has lots of courage. He can be dangerous at any moment, because he is a strong fighter. There’s no doubt that I am a fighter that has more qualities, obviously. But in boxing, you must always, always be aware.”

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) is coming off a technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell for the, at the time, vacant WBC supper middleweight title in February 2019. The loss was unfortunate for Yildirim, as it came after an accidental head clash cut Dirrell.

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Heading into the fight with Dirrell, the Turkish fighter was on a five-fight winning streak after suffering a third-round knockout loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017. Without a doubt, though, Alvarez will be the 29-year-old Yildirim’s toughest challenge to date.

Yildirim welcomes facing such an established and renowned champion.

“It’s a big fight for me and big chance for me,” Yildirim recently told Fight Hub TV. “We are ready for the big fight, you know. I know it’s a big atmosphere...I know it’s a big chance for my career. We are ready for the war, you know. I don’t care what everyone says, underdog — I don’t care. I don’t care what everyone says, we are ready for the war. After one week, everyone knows that I will be world champion.”

Yildirim is embracing the underdog role.

“I know everyone says ‘underdog, underdog’ — fuck what everyone says, you know,” Yildirim said. “I don’t care. Two days ago, I did interview with different channel but he don’t (have) respect for me...he talk to me ‘underdog, underdog’ and I want to told him ‘what the fuck?’ I believe in myself, I believe in my coach, I believe in my promoter. I don’t care, you know.”


• The main card can be seen on DAZN at 8 p.m. this Saturday.

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