Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim is a Mismatch, But Canelo Says It’s Not His “Problem”

Canelo Alvarez and Avni Yildirim Face Off

On February 27, 2021, Mexico’s biggest boxing star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, will enter the squared circle for the 57th time and walk away unscathed. How do I know this? I don’t. That’s what most boxing fans and pundits think.

Still didn’t get it? Well, let me ask you a question: “Who is Avni Yildirim?” Don’t waste your time trying to Google him. I’ll tell you exactly who he is. Let me make one thing clear before I move forward. This is not a dig at Yildirim. I’m sure he has worked his entire life for this moment.

Yildirim (21-2) is a Turkish professional boxer who competes in the super-middleweight division. Inspired by Sinan Samil Sam, Yildirim took up boxing at 13 years of age. He rose through the amateur ranks, became a national champion, and turned pro in March 2014.

As per ESPN, he has almost become a celebrity — with a chance to shock the world — in Turkey after his bout with Canelo was announced.

Celebrity or not, Yildirim has beaten no household names. Most of his fights took place outside the U.S. against lesser-known contenders.

Chris Eubank Jr. knocks out Avni Yildirim

Yildirim lost his last fight against Anthony Dirrell via a technical decision after the duo clashed heads. Unfortunately, that is not the only loss on his record. Two years before his defeat to Dirrell, he also suffered a brutal KO at the hands of Chris Eubank Jr., who many believe is levels below Canelo.

What does Canelo Alvarez Think of His Next Opponent?

Although Canelo Alvarez seems like he is always looking for the toughest challenge, he isn’t bothered this time. The Mexican feels Yildirim’s lack of “big qualities” is not his problem.

Based on his interview with The Ring Magazine, it appears like Alvarez is considering Yildirim just a piece of the puzzle.

“I don’t need the titles but at this moment (trainer and manager) Eddy (Reynoso) and I have placed the goal of winning all the titles at 168 pounds because that will create one more stage of history in boxing for me and that’s what has to be done, and we’re doing it,” Alvarez said. “I know Yildirim maybe doesn’t have the big qualities, but that’s not my problem. The thing I do is continue making history, and that’s what’s in my path in order [to] accomplish what I want to accomplish. And that’s how it is.”

Who is to be blamed here? Is it the WBC, who made Yildirim (who is coming off a loss) the mandatory challenger, or is it Canelo who chose to fight Yildirim? Feel free to pen down your opinion in the comments section.

In another interview with BoxingScene, Alvarez addressed his critics directly. He said they will never be happy with his fights.

“I don’t have to give any explanation [for fighting Yildirim]. I really don’t have to give any explanation because they’re never gonna be happy with anything. I just fought number one at 168 pounds [Smith], and they’re not happy with that, either. So, I have nothing to say and nothing to explain. I don’t care.”

Alvarez is coming off a flawless performance against Callum Smith. He detached the Britisher’s bicep and dominated the fight to win via unanimous decision. However, he received a ton of criticism for not finishing the fight.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith
Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith

Whether we like it or not, Alvarez vs. Yildirim goes down this Saturday inside the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. 15,000 fans will be in attendance, and the bout will be live-streamed on DAZN.

Professional Boxing and MMA writer at The Combat Magazine.