Canelo Alvarez's "stay busy" fight went by without incident on Saturday, as the super middleweight champion dominated challenger Avni Yildirim on his way to a third-round TKO win in Miami.
After an uneventful first round, Alvarez came alive, or at least stayed awake while Yildirim allowed him to throw a number of uncontested shots. Alvarez scored his first knockdown midway through the third round and stayed in control from there.
Yildirim's trainer could be heard telling his fighter he would allow him to go on like that for one more round, but apparently that was too much. Yildirim was unable to rise for the fourth round, and a one-sided fight was officially over.
Yildirim landed the fight against Alvarez as a mandatory challenger through the WBC, having previously agreed to waive that status to set up a fight between Alvarez and Callum Smith last December. There was little reason for Yildirim to face the biggest star in boxing otherwise, as he had not fought in two years entering Saturday, lost his last fight and tested positive for two performance-enhancing drugs in Oct. 2019.
Alvarez was a -5000 favorite at BetMGM. That might have been underrating his chances.
What's next for Canelo Alvarez?
Alvarez's win over Yildirim is the first step of a massive year that Alvarez has planned, after fighting just once in all o 2020.
Up next is a reported fight against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in a unification bout on Cinco de Mayo weekend. While the 30-0 Saunders figures to present a greater challenge, Alvarez still figures to be heavily favored as he tries to bring together ever major super middleweight title.
Eddie Hearn confirmed after the fight that Alvarez would fight Saunders on May 8.
Even though Alvarez will have theoretically fought three times in six months if he follows that plan, Alvarez’s manager and trainer said in December that Alvarez also plans to fight on the weekend of Mexican Independence Day in September.
Among the possible opponents for that fight is IBF super middleweight title holder Caleb Plant. If that’s the plan, an undefeated 2021 would make Alvarez the undisputed champion at super middleweight, and further burnish one of the great careers in modern boxing history.
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