Boxing fans won’t have to wait long for Canelo Alvarez’s next fight.
The WBC and WBA super middleweight champion will face WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on Feb. 27, his manager and trainer Eddy Reynoso told the Los Angeles Times. While the Times also reported the fight will take place in Alvarez’s birthplace of Guadalajara, Mexico, Reynoso later tweeted a clarification that the location has not yet been determined.
If Guadalajara (or anywhere else in Mexico) is the pick, the fight will be Alvarez’s first in the country since 2011, a span of 17 fights.
Canelo Alvarez has big plans for 2021
Alvarez is coming off a dominant win over Callum Smith last weekend to unify the super middleweight titles, taking Smith’s WBA (Super) belt and the vacant WBC belt. Despite going the distance and winning by unanimous decision, Alvarez is now reportedly on track to lace up his gloves just two months later.
Such a short wait is a welcome change from the lay-off Alvarez had between his previous two fights, with more than 13 months elapsing between his wins over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019 and Smith last Saturday. That was mostly due to an untenable financial situation between Alvarez and DAZN, which eventually went away when the boxer was released from his record contract.
Should Alvarez win and remain unscathed, Reynoso told the Times that he intends to fight at 168 pounds on Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in 2021, which would lead to lay-offs of three and four months, respectively.
Possible opponents reportedly include WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, IBC champion Caleb Plant and Gennadiy Golovkin, who would have to move up in weight to make the trilogy happen.
In Yildirim, Alvarez will be facing an opponent in an extended hiatus of his own, as the Turkish challenger hasn’t fought since losing a title challenge against then-WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell in February 2019. The 21-2 Yildirim lost by 10th-round technical decision.
Since then, Yildirim has tested positive for two performance-enhancing drugs, but avoided a suspension after the WBC determined he didn’t take the substances intentionally.
Yildirim figures to be a massive underdog, though he’s already a financial winner by virtue of landing a fight against boxing’s biggest draw. Yildirim reportedly had a right to compete for the WBC belt as mandatory challenge, but agreed to step aside on the condition he faced the winner of Alvarez-Smith.
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