To no one’s surprise, Canelo Alvarez successfully defended his WBA (Super), WBC, and The Ring super middleweight titles against his mandatory challenger, Avni Yildirim. The fight ended before the fourth round, awarding Alvarez his 55th win.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing did not cut any corners for this event. It had everything – celebrity singers, fireworks, grand entrances, and even Jake Paul supporters! The only thing that was missing was a decent opponent.
The ring walks took quite a while, as fans had to wait patiently for three national anthems and J. Balvin’s mini-concert to end. It might have not appealed to the hardcore fans, who came to watch two men fight.
Fight Recap: Canelo Alvarez dismantles Avni Yildirim
With the entrance out of the way, Canelo and Yildirim finally collided in the ring. Every time Yildirim missed a jab, Alvarez made him pay. The Mexican systematically targeted his Turkish rival’s body with devastating hooks and established range early in the fight.
Following the hooks, Alvarez unleashed devastating uppercuts in the second round. At this moment, it was clear that Yildirim had no answer for Canelo. He was not creating openings, nor was he pushing the pace. Yildirim’s face was all red by the end of the second round.
After attempting a body shot in round three, Avni Yildirim got dropped with two shots to the head. Although “Mr. Robot” beat the count, he could not keep the champion off him. Alvarez picked up the pace in an attempt to finish the fight, but eventually, he slowed down a bit when he realized Yildirim was not going out in that round. However, the battle did not enter the fourth round, as the fight was called off by Yildirim’s corner.
Post-fight Shenanigans: Jake Paul Supporters try to Crash the Party
During Canelo Alvarez’s post-fight interview, two unknown men tried to steal the show while wearing Jake Paul t-shirts. Seemingly irritated with both men, Canelo shooed them away.
Jake, who is a YouTuber with a 2-0 pro boxing record, will fight retired MMA star Ben Askren on April 17. The event will go down on DAZN’s rival, Triller.
In the past, Canelo Alvarez shut down the possibility of a match with Jake Paul. He said such fights are based on money and are disrespectful to the sport. Besides that, he also invited Jake Paul to a sparring session to give him a reality check.
Eddie Hearn Announces Alvarez vs. Saunders for the WBO championship, Saunders reacts
Right after Canelo’s interview in the ring, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn made Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders official. The bout will take place on May 8. The venue is not yet disclosed.
Hearn also expressed his excitement towards the bout in an interaction with Boxing Social.
“Just a monster fight, mega fight. Unification fight,” Hearn said. “I really feel like every time I watch Canelo, I think he gets better and better. I think the only person that’s got a chance to beat Canelo Alvarez is Billy Joe Saunders. And Billy’s gonna have to put in an incredible performance. But he raises his game when he’s got the fear, when he knows he’s in with a great fighter. So this is it for Billy, you know? For all the previous inactivity, all the social media, controversy. This is it. He’s got it. I’ve delivered it — the biggest fight in boxing.”
Saunders reacted to the fight announcement with a tweet.
Yes, he was sleeping. Saunders confirmed he did not watch the fight and sent a message to Canelo in an interview with iFL TV.
“I feel privileged to be taking part in this. Obviously, I’m not gonna win,” Saunders said in a sarcastic tone. “I’m just going to go there, pick me money up, and go home, you know? That’s what I’m here for — grab me cash, go off home, sail off to the sunset. It’s one of them. Obviously, Canelo is the greatest fighter in the world. I’m a big, big, massive fan. And I’m looking forward to the event. I’m looking forward to even meeting him.”
Canelo admits Yildirim looked defeated before the fight, gives his thoughts on Billy Joe Saunders
It’s easy to discard the game plan and strategy when one is fighting the biggest star of the sport. Often, fighters throw away their own strategy and focus more on their opponents’ moves. Alvarez believes Yildirim suffered from something similar.
“That’s usually what happens with my opponents because when they go in the ring with me, they are always worried about what I’m gonna do — whether I’m gonna counterpunch and make them uncomfortable,” Alvarez said through a translator.
Before, and even after the fight, Canelo Alvarez received criticism for fighting a low-caliber opponent. An analyst even referred to the bout as “a glorified sparring session.” During the post-fight presser, Alvarez clarified why he fought Yildirim.
“The reason we fought Yildirim was because we had already said we would fight him in December. It was a fight that was already programmed. We ended up fighting [Callum] Smith, and we had to pay money to push the fight to a later date.”
Regarding his upcoming fight, Alvarez recognized the threat Billy Joe brings to the table. However, he said he will be ready for the WBO super middleweight champion.
“He’s a good fighter, he’s a hard fighter. He’s a southpaw, and he likes to talk. But we’re gonna be ready for him. I’m gonna train to be ready for him. I’m very motivated. Getting the title motivates me very much.”
Ryan Garcia, Jorge Masvidal, and more react to Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim
Canelo’s teammate and WBC interim lightweight champion Ryan Garcia was thrilled with the Mexican’s win.
“You could see it from the opening bell. He’s just at a whole different level. Like light years away from Avni. But respect to Avni. He got in the ring and took a pretty wild three-round beat down. So I mean it is what it is.”
Moreover, he appreciated Saunders’ achievements inside the ring and called him a “great fighter.” However, according to Garcia, “great” is not enough to beat Saul.
“I think Billy Joe Saunders is a great fighter,” Ryan Garcia said. “I don’t think he’s a legendary fighter. I think you need to have a legendary fighter to be able to even compete with Canelo. You need to be really explosive. Billy Joe Saunders is not the most explosive fighter. He has good foot movement. But you need to be explosive in order to even match with that speed and the accuracy of Canelo. You [have] to make Canelo think. If you don’t have that, it’s gonna be a rough night for you for a very, very long 12 rounds.”
“I loved it how quick he found his timing, how quick he found his space,’ Masvidal told Fight Hub TV. He had the square root of what’s his face so fast. It was impressive, and I loved that, you know? To see the disparity between the number one guy and everybody else.”
Like Garcia, Masvidal also appreciated Billy Joe Saunders but said his money is on Canelo. Furthermore, he stated that Yildirim’s morale was completely crushed after the first round.
It is worth noting that Masvidal once called out Canelo and wanted to fight him. Unfortunately for him, the bout never materialized. After beating Yildirim, Canelo joined Masvidal at the commentary desk and had a few words with him.
“First thing I said was, ‘Congrats, my brother.’ I’m not gonna rain on nobody’s parade,” Masvidal said in an interview with Boxing Social. “What a hell of a performance. Amazing!”
Moreover, Masvidal said he came to watch Canelo as a fan and had no intentions of calling him out.
Masvidal is rumored to fight UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, for the second time. When asked about a potential date, he revealed the bout will take place in September 2021.
Edgar Berlanga Jr.
Rising super-middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga Jr. was not happy with Canelo’s choice of opponent. Berlanga, who has 16 first round knockouts to his name, promised to fold Avni Yildirim in round 1.
Ahmet Oner (Avni Yildirim’s manager)
Yildirim’s manager, Ahmet Oner, talked about the stoppage. He claimed the head coach pulled Yildirim out of the fight, as he was not responding well. Although he seemed disheartened, Oner said he was not disappointed with the results.
“Canelo is too good. So, why should I be disappointed? That was okay — big fight, big stage, experience. I always say, ‘Take something of this and continue.’ “
Oner then affirmed that the bright lights and the star power of Canelo got to his fighter.
Alvarez vs. Yildirim: Purse
Per The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Yildirim made $2.5 million for his fight against Alvarez. Although Alvarez’s exact purse is not known, it is reported that he earned a massive eight-figure check.
That’s the highest amount of money Yildirim has earned to date. If he wants, he can retire at this stage, as fighting young and hungry lions like Edgar Berlanga Jr. won’t fetch him more than that because of their limited popularity.
What did you feel about the fight?