Canelo Alvarez will return to the ring two months after his most recent victory.
The Mexican star will defend his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on February 27. Just as notable is the announcement that Alvarez is teaming up with Matchroom Boxing on a two-fight deal starting with the Yildirim bout. The fight between Alvarez and Yildirim will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Florida and streamed on DAZN. An announcement on ticket sales will be made at a later date. The event will also be carried out as a pay-per-view in the United States and Canada in addition to it being streamed on DAZN.
Alvarez signing a two-fight deal to partner up with Matchroom Boxing sets the stage for a potential clash against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who is also promoted by Matchroom Boxing. Alvarez and Saunders were once set to face off against each other, but that bout fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is an absolute honor to promote the pound-for-pound number one and I’m so excited to head to Miami and the home of the Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium. Even in a pandemic, [Canelo] is looking to be more active than ever and in his plan to be undisputed he must overcome his mandatory challengers to keep his belt. Yildirim is the first of those challenges who will be attempting to dethrone the king on February 27. We look forward to a huge night of boxing on DAZN and the start of a huge year for Canelo,” Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn said in a press release.
The 30-year-old Alvarez has previously declared his desire to unify the super middleweight division. That means Alvarez would need to go through both Saunders and IBF champion Caleb Plant. However, Plant is busy with his immediate fight future as he’s fighting Caleb Truax on January 30.
This will be Alvarez’s second straight fight at super middleweight and second in the span of just a couple of months. Alvarez last fought in December when he faced then-WBA and Ring Magazine champion Callum Smith. Alvarez won the fight by unanimous decision and captured Smith’s titles as well as the vacant WBC title. The WBC title was on the line for the fight between Alvarez and Smith with the condition that the winner must face Yildirim, who had been owed a title shot, within 90 days.
Alvarez has won titles at junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight, but his future is now firmly planted at super middleweight.
Yildirim has not fought since February 2019 when he lost to Anthony Dirrell with the WBC title on the line. Dirrell suffered a cut late in the fight and ended in a technical decision win for him. Yildirim went to the WBC to ask for another title shot and was promised another shot at the belt.
Should Alvarez emerge victorious against Yildirim and not have any lingering injuries, he could potentially return for Cinco De Mayo weekend, potentially against Saunders as the second half of Alvarez’s deal with Matchroom Boxing. A clash between Alvarez and Saunders would clear the way for the winner to fight the IBF champion and crown an undisputed super middleweight champion before 2021 comes to a close.