As expected, this was easy for Saul “Canel” Alvarez.
The WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring middleweight champion successfully defended their titles by hitting Avni Yildirim and forcing their opponent to give up the chair after three rounds at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., On Saturday night.
Now it’s time to fight for unification against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th.
This was a 70-day turnaround for Canel after beating Callum Smith in December, where he took home the titles in the super middleweight division. To retain his WBC title, he had to face the first contestant in Yildirim. In his dreams of being the undisputed champion, he violently fulfilled his obligation.
“I needed a knockout and that’s exactly what I did,” Canelo said.
To say it was a good night for a 30-year-old might sell it for a while. Canelo came out firing, and Yildirim could do nothing but eat his skin because he felt the Mexican’s rage.
Recognizing that Yildirim had no answer, Canelo set to work and headed for the finish line to start the second round. Digging shots all over his body, landing his uppercuts and wrapping hooks around his gloves, Canelo scored his first right-handed knockdown in the middle in the third round. It was clear that Yildirim had no chance as Canelo pounded his opponent. Coach Joel Diaz didn’t like what he saw from his fighter and decided to keep Yildirim in his chair during the fourth round.
The expected easy victory cleared the way for Canel to further unite the division.
“I will fight anyone,” he said. “I always fight the best. It doesn’t matter. Here I am, writing history. I had to fight the Yildirim to keep the championship.”
And now they will face undefeated Saunders over the weekend Cinco De Mayo.
Here’s how it all went downhill. (All times east.)
Canelo Alvarez pulled Anvi Yildirim after three rounds
Round 3 (22:54): The third round starts where the second one stopped, as Canelo repeatedly landed next to the body and dropped Yildirim with a straight right hand. Yildirim stood up, but he was powdered. Canelo is looking for the perfect shot to finish this. Yildirim manages to survive, but it is obvious that it will be over soon. 10-8, Canelo (30-26, Canelo)
Round 2 (22:50): Canelo swings Yildirim’s uppercut and lands the hook. Canelo just shoots and drops whatever he wants. This is a targeted practice. Canelo with liver image, uppercut and hip. This is violence. Yildirim is nothing but a heavy bag with legs. 10-9, Canelo (20-18, Canelo)
Round 1 (22:45): Canelo opens with a left hook that moves Yildirim. He spends little time on the offensive. Canelo digs through the body. Yildirim already has no answers. As a fighter known to be aggressive, Canelo tamed a Turkish warrior. 10-9, Canelo
22:34: Canelo moves into the ring with the performance of pop star J Balvin. Dancers and pyro set the stage for the boxing king of the kilogram by the kilogram.
22:30: Avni Yildirim made his way to the ring. He says Canelo has never fought a Turkish warrior before. I’m not sure if that’s going to matter, but it sounds good.
22:24: We are used to long waits whenever Canelo fights. After more than 30 minutes we finally reached the national anthems. The main event is (finally) ahead of us!
21:50: It’s time for the main event! Canelo Alvarez is set to defend his WBC, WBA (Super) and The Ring super middleweight titles against WBC No. 1 opponent Avnia Yildirim. Few expect Yildirim to be a major threat, but anything can happen. Is not it?
21:43: McWilliams Arroyo sought a temporary WBC title by stopping in the fifth round. Rodriguez just couldn’t stand the pressure and ran from pillar to pillar. With no imaginable way to win, Rodriguez’s corner stopped the fight to save his fighter from further damage. We will win the Arroyo-Julio Cesar Martinez fight as soon as Martinez recovers.
21:40: As expected, this fight was one-way. It took a minute for Arroyo to figure out Rodriguez, but he stepped up the pressure in the fourth round and scored his first knockdown. Rodriguez will have to do something special so as not to stop the fifth.
21:16: The next major event follows, as McWilliams Arroyo will fight late-substitute Abraham Rodriguez for a temporary WBC title in the flyweight category. Julio Cesar Martinez broke his arm earlier in the week, and Rodriguez flew to Miami on Friday to take his place. Arroyo are expected to win completely, but Rodriguez is to be commended for his last-minute reinforcements.
21:10: The hype train for Zhang Zhilei was derailed as he eventually had a majority draw against Jerry Forrest, despite scoring knockouts in the first three rounds. But the big man was exhausted and allowed Forrest to take over the second half of the fight. The docked point in the 9th round in the end was the creator of the difference, one referee saw it for Forrest 95-93, and the other two were even at 93-93. Zhang will surely have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong.
21:07: The fight certainly turned around, as Zhang did almost nothing during the second half of the fight and lost a point in the 9th round, while Forrest continues to outdo him. Forrest buzzes from Zhang late 10th combination and injures a big man. Zhang staggers around the ring as Forrest chases him in pursuit. Zhang manages to survive, but can we get upset?
20:51: Zhang once dropped Forrest in the first three rounds, but Forrest refuses to leave. It is obvious that he has outwitted his games and continues to progress. When we finish the sixth round, Zhang seems to have been completely fired. Maybe Forrest can make a comeback?
20:22: The heavyweights will next throw themselves into hands with giant Chinese monster 6-6 Zhang Zhilei taking over Jerry Forrest. Can Zhilei collect the 23rd victory?
20:09: Well, he didn’t get a knockout, but Diego Pacheco improved to 11-0 and for the first time in his career went through eight rounds with a unanimous victory. Pacheco controlled most of the action and seemed to have learned a lot as he began his rise in the title bout by facing an opponent who had never been stopped before. It wasn’t easy, but Pachecu was definitely.
19:51: We’re halfway through the fight and they’re both still upright. Pacheco is ahead, but Gomez Jr. has absolutely come to fight. So far, the job has ended Pachec’s activity behind the sting. Can Gomez figure out a way to reverse this fight?
19:30: Next is another young talent on the rise, as Diego Pacheco looks set to remain undefeated against Rodolfo Gomez Jr. Pachec’s height advantage here will be nullified as they both go out at 6’4 “and share a similar range. They both promised short nights. But who will be on the screen?
19:24: We live and it didn’t take long for hot potential player Marc Castro to feel his presence. Faced with former UFC male challenger John Morag, Castro made sure no Clay Collard happened to somehow grow out of the former MMA fighter, as he dropped an opponent three times in two rounds to get a stop. Castro dropped Moraga with the first shot he threw and from there it all went downhill. The combination dropped Moraga again in the second round and ended him with a short uppercut. Castro is improving to 2-0 and it is obvious that he will be a challenge for the world title in the next 24 months.
How to watch Canelo vs. Yildirim
- Live Streaming: DAZN
- PPV price: $ 19.99 per month or $ 99.99 per year
Canelo’s fight against Yildirim will be broadcast live on DAZN in more than 200 countries and territories, including the US and Canada.
Those interested in watching the fight can find DAZN on a number of different systems, including, without limitation, Amazon Fire TV / stick, Android, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, iPhone and iPad, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox X Series / S and Roku. The DAZN application is also available on LG, Samsung and Vizio, Xfinity X1 and Flex smart TVs.
Viewers can also find it on DAZN.com using browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.
Canelo against Yildirim battle cards
- Canelo Alvarez def. Avni Yildirim over 3rd round TKO (2:59).
- McWilliams Arroyo def. Abraham Rodriguez over 5th round TKO (1:41).
- Zhang Zhilei and Jerry Forrest fight for most of the draws (93-93, 93-93. 95-93).
- Diego Pacheco def. Rodolfo Gomez Jr. by unanimous decision (79-73, 79-73, 79-73).
- Marc Castro def. John Moraga over TKO in the 2nd round (2:29).