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Canelo Alvarez talks Garcia vs. Pacquiao, Avni Yildirim fight and if Billy Joe Saunders is next

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WBA-WBC super middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez tells Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole that he probably won't go back up to fight at 175 pounds and his plan for now is to unify the titles at super middleweight. Alvarez faces WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on Saturday, Feb. 27 on DAZN.

Video Transcript

KEVIN IOLE: Hey, folks, I am Kevin Iole. And it is my pleasure now to welcome the best fighter in the world and an aspiring golfer-- we got to get out on the golf course-- so Canelo Alvarez. And on February 27 on DAZN, he will fight his mandatory challenge at super middleweight the WBC contender Avni Yildirim. Canelo, how is it going today, my friend?

CANELO ALVAREZ: Very well, thank you, Kevin.

KEVIN IOLE: You know, before I talk to you about your fight, one of your training partners has been in the news. And so I wanted to ask you about Ryan Garcia. Obviously, he had a big win stopping Luke Campbell. There's been talk of him fighting Manny Pacquiao, which has kind of cooled off a little bit right now. I wanted to get your thoughts, though. Do you think Manny Pacquiao is too experienced and too big for Ryan Garcia at this point?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: I believe that Pacquiao is a great fighter, that he's a mature fighter. He's a strong fighter. He's a smart fighter. That's who he is. And if Ryan feels that he can beat him then he has to train-- train a lot. We will support him. And if he thinks he can do it, then, you know, focus and train really hard for it.

KEVIN IOLE: Interesting. You know, Canelo, you are always a guy that seems to focus on the task at hand. You don't often look ahead. But here you are. You have a fight next week on the 27th. And yet you've already talked about fighting Billy Joe Saunders in-- in May. How do you keep all your attention on Yildirim when you know you have the Saunder's fight coming up? That's unusual for you in most cases. I can't remember you doing that before.

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: I've always had these types of situations where people are asking and looking to the future of other fights. But I stay focused. I'm focused on this coming fight that is February 27 and on the short-term goal of unifying. But I'm 100% focused. And that's how I've handled it by that type of experience of just focusing on the upcoming fight.

KEVIN IOLE: Canelo, I love the fact that you're being active. And having you fighting multiple times a year, I think, is really good for boxing. But I want to ask you. You know, Yildirim lost his last fight, yet he's getting a chance to fight the best fighter in the world. And he hasn't fought in two years. I know it's the sanctioning body mandatory. Does that bother you as a boxing fan, as a person who has a saying, boxing is life? Does it bother you that these sanctioning bodies make guys like this the mandatory challenger? What has he done to deserve a fight against Canelo Alvarez?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: Well, I don't know. I'm not-- you know, I'm not the type of person to opine on that. What I do is I get on the ring and do my job, do what I have to do, do what I'm supposed to do because of how all this is organized. So I just adapt to the challenges, and take it, and perform my job.

KEVIN IOLE: If you were able to unify at 168, so that would mean fights with Billy Joe Saunders, if you're successful on the 27th, Caleb Plant, would you consider going to 175 and trying to do the exact same thing?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: At 175, well, Eddie-- Eddie, after fighting Kovalev, he doesn't want me fighting that type of fight at that weight with those pounds. But, you know, minds can be changed and something can change in the future.

KEVIN IOLE: You know the, fight that I have talked about, Canelo, for you that I think-- you know, some people say it's an unfair fight. But I think Artur Beterbiev is such a dominant light heavyweight. And, you know, you kick off that guy and you take him out, then, I mean, I think not only is that-- that guarantee your first ballot Hall of Fame, which I think you've already done, but that just puts the icing on the cake, who the best fighter in the world is. Do you think-- you know, is Beterbiev too big, too physical for you given what-- you started at what, 140 or 135, you know. So you were a much smaller fighter. Is that a reasonable fight for you to take?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: No. For him, you know, at the 175, I'm a much smaller fighter. I come from much lower pounds. So it's much more advantage for the fighters that are at that class weight. But as a matter of fact, when we considered the 175-pound fight, Beterbiev was somebody that we had in mind, somebody that we did consider. We couldn't-- we couldn't concrete that fight. Because he had another fight about to happen. So that's the reason why I didn't fight him.

KEVIN IOLE: Wow, that would have been a fast-- that would have really gotten a lot of people going to see you do that. You know, I wonder-- let's just go back one step. You know, you're coming off a really good win over Callum Smith. And, you know, not that it was a shock that you beat Callum Smith. But I thought, you know, some people were surprised at how comprehensively you beat him and how you broke him down. And there was that huge size mismatch. When you look back on the fight with Smith, do you feel that's one of the best performances of your career?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: Yes, yes, I do. I do feel right now that I'm at my best, my best moment on the ring, strongest, mature. My best boxing abilities are now. So, yes, I do feel that I'm at my best moment now.

KEVIN IOLE: And-- and finally, what kind of fight do you expect Yildirim to put up with you? I mean, what kind of-- how do you expect him to approach you? And what type of offense do you think he'll try? And what is the answer for you?

CANELO ALVAREZ: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

VIVIEN NICHOLS: Well, what I expect is that he comes forward aggressively, try to rip my head off, you know, throwing his best punches initially. But I-- what I'll do is, you know, keep concentrated, focus, and try to perform my best, put my experience out there, my maturity, so that we can-- so I can give my best fight.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, Canelo, we appreciate your time. We're going to get you out on the golf course, me, you, and Sergio Mora. We'll take some of Sergio Mora's money. Because we know we can do that. Canelo, the best to you February 27 on DAZN against Avni Yildirim. We appreciate you. Thanks so much. Good luck, Canelo.

CANELO ALVAREZ: Thank you, my friend.