Boxing betting preview: How long will Avni Yildirim last vs. Canelo Alvarez?

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·4 min read

On the surface, it would seem that betting on the Canelo Alvarez-Avni Yildirim super middleweight title fight in Miami on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, DAZN) would be an easy proposition. Alvarez is going to win, so bet whatever you can afford on the champion.

But the bookmakers are no dummies, and they have made it hard in many ways to just load up on Alvarez. Alvarez is a -5000 favorite at BetMGM, while Yildirim is +1500. That means that a bettor who risks $5,000 on Alvarez would win $100 if, as he expected, he’s victorious.

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Alvarez, who is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, seems a good bet to knock Yildirim out. Yildirim hasn’t won a fight in two years, so you’ll have to lay a pretty penny to bet Alvarez by KO/TKO/DQ. At BetMGM, Alvarez is -1600 to win by stoppage, with Yildirim to win by stoppage at +1800.

Round betting is available, but that is really just a crapshoot. Alvarez to win in Round 1 is +700, while Alvarez by 12th round KO or TKO is +4000.

But at BetMGM, there are round ranges you can bet on that make it a lot simpler and put the odds more favorable. It offers bets asking the question, “Over how many rounds will the bout go?” It provides odds at less than three rounds or more than three; less than five rounds or more than five; less than seven rounds or more than seven; less than nine rounds or more than nine and less than 11 rounds or more than 11.

So on this fight, first focus on approximately how long you believe the fight will last.

In his last seven fights, against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gennadiy Golovkin twice, Rocky Fielding, Daniel Jacobs Sergey Kovalev and Callum Smith, Alvarez is 6-0-1 but has won by KO or just TKO twice.

He stopped Fielding in the third round at Madison Square Garden in New York on De. 15, 2018, and stopped Kovalev in the 11th on Nov. 2, 2019.

Yildirim is better than Fielding and probably not as good as an aging Kovalev, so he probably will do better than Fielding and not as well as Kovalev.

Boxers Saul
Boxers Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, left, and Avni Yildirim pose for photos at Hard Rock Stadium, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alvarez will defend his WBC and WBA super-middleweight titles against Yildirim on Saturday. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

So I see the fight ending in the middle somewhere, anywhere from the fourth through the seventh. Alvarez has made a commitment in recent bouts to working the body and Yildirim is vulnerable to the body, so that would suggest it would go closer to four than seven.

At Bet MGM, less than five rounds is -110 and over five full rounds is -125.

I think the most likely scenario is that Yildirim is done in the first five rounds, so as long as he lasts 14 minutes, 59 seconds or less, a bet on under five full rounds at -110 is a winner.

It’s a reasonable number even if you are expecting Alvarez to be dominant in the fight. At the highest level, knockouts in the first and second round are exceedingly rare and Alvarez has never had one since he became a world champion. One would have to go back to Sept. 15, 2009, when a 19-year-old Alvarez stopped Carlos Herrera in the first to find a bout where Alvarez won in less than three rounds.

Yildirim won’t remind anyone of Andre Ward, but he’s a better fighter than Fielding, so the odds are good he lasts at least into the third. But Alvarez has proven he’s very strong at super middleweight, where he doesn’t have to cut much weight to make the 168-pound limit.

His body attack is fierce and among the best in the game.

So the best bet for me is to lay two units on Alvarez at -110 to win in less than five rounds.

If it goes five rounds or less, I’ll make a $200 profit. If it goes longer, I’m out $220. For a fighter as good as Alvarez, those are not oppressively bad odds.

It’s called gambling, after all, and I’m willing to take that bet.

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