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Canelo Alvarez Blasts Avni Yildirim, Moves On To Billy Joe Saunders Showdown

Canelo Alvarez entertained Miami with a J. Balvin concert, dancers on the stage and a video package of him driving exotic cars under the hot Florida sun. A dominant win over Avni Yildirim was simply the icing on the cake on an eventful night in Miami.

As expected by virtually everyone, Alvarez was in rare form scoring a third-round TKO win over Yildirim in Alvarez’s second fight in the span of less than 12 weeks on DAZN. Alvarez retained his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles in his first fight as a unified super middleweight champion.

From the start, Alvarez overwhelmed Yildirim with an array of powerful body shots in the first round. Yildirim did not land on any major punches in the fight, playing defense for most of the nine minutes of one-sided action. Alvarez dropped Yildirim in the third round with a straight right hand and nearly stopped him for the remainder of the fight.

In between rounds three and four, Yildirim’s trainer Joel Diaz said he would stop the fight after four rounds if the Turkish fighter doesn’t show him anything good. Instead of risking suffering any further damage, the fight was stopped before Yildirim could even leave the corner.

 

Yildirim’s journey to a fight against one of boxing’s top stars is certainly not a normal one. Yildirim originally challenged for the WBC title against Anthony Dirrell in 2019. However, that fight resulted in a technical decision win for Dirrell, but Yildirim requested another shot at the title. The WBC approved Yildirim’s request for another title opportunity and spent two years waiting for the fight.

Meanwhile, the WBC title switched hands multiple times. Dirrell lost the title to David Benavidez in Dirrell’s first title defense. Benavidez was then stripped after missing weight for a title defense last year. The WBC then approved Alvarez’s fight against Callum Smith from last year for the vacant title under the condition that the winner faces Yildirim next. Alvarez went on to defeat Smith back in December by unanimous decision to win the WBA, WBC and Ring titles.

Alvarez now moves on to a three-belt unification fight against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced the fight in the post-fight interview. It is set for May 8 on a venue to be announced at a later date. The fight between Alvarez and Saunders was planned for last year, but it was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic before it was ever announced. Alvarez’s showdown with Saunders is the second bout in a two-fight contract Alvarez signed with Matchroom Boxing weeks ago.

The other super middleweight champion in the equation is IBF titleholder Caleb Plant. Alvarez previously stated his interest in unifying the division this year, which means fights against both Saunders and Plant. A win over Saunders opens up Mexican Independence Day weekend in September for a potential showdown with Plant.

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