Less than three months had passed since fans saw Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez in a boxing ring. He had defeated Callum Smith on December 19, 2020 to capture the WBC, WBA, and The Ring Super Middleweight titles. This past Saturday he took on mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in front of 15,000 fans at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL. On paper Yildirim presented no risk for the Mexican fighter. This would hold up to be true as Canelo easily dispatched the Turkish fighter under four rounds.
As always you can never count out a fighter no matter how inferior they might be. This was Avni Yildirim’s biggest fight of his career. If this fight was going to be competitive, the responsibility rested solely on Yildirim’s shoulders. He could have seen this as a life changing opportunity. The prospect of bigger paydays and making history in front of 15,000 fans and an even bigger TV audience could catapult a fighter to do great things. But this would not be Yildirim’s night. From the onset Canelo applied pressure and showed little to no respect to Yildirim’s punching power. The way he let his hands go, connecting with flurries of stinging combinations to the head and body showed that he knew what we all knew; Yildirim was no match for him. The fight seemed to be over in the third round when Canelo connected with a powerful one-two combination that send Yildirim crashing to the canvas. The Turkish fighter would rise up to beat the count. He stayed on the move long enough to see the end of the round.
As soon as Yildirim reached his corner his coach, Joel Diaz, checked on him. Diaz knew that his fighter was in with a superior fighter that he would simply not defeat. He knew best and decided to end the fight. In doing so he saved his fighter from further imminent damage. Because of this Joel Diaz should be praised for putting the welfare of his fighter before the fans’ desire for more punishment.
Canelo retained his championship gold and improved his record to 55-1-2 with 37 KOs while Yildirim’s record drops to 21-3, 12 KOs. Canelo would waste no time in announcing his next opponent. During the in-ring post-fight interview, it was announced that Canelo will meet in a Super Middleweight Title Unification bout. This upcoming fight will be a stiffer challenge for the Mexican champion, but it’s one that he is willing to face head on.