Hello and welcome to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for tonight’s super middleweight championship fight between Canelo Álvarez and Avni Yıldırım. It’s the second outing in 70 days for Álvarez, boxing’s biggest star, who is fresh off a one-sided points win over Britain’s Callum Smith to win the WBA and Ring super middleweight championships and vacant WBC super middleweight title.
Yıldırım (21-2, 12 KOs) is not expected to offer much resistance. The 29-year-old from Turkey, who hasn’t boxed since a technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell two years ago, is going off as a 15-1 underdog and is only here because he’s the mandatory challenger to Álvarez’s WBC title.
For Álvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), there’s plenty of risk and little reward until he can move forward toward his goal of unifying the belts at 168lbs against the division’s other two champions: Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders, who owns the WBO title, and Caleb Plant, the unbeaten American who holds the IBF strap.
“I respect all fighters and the challenge I have in front of me,” Alvarez said this week. “I know what Yildirim brings. He is a strong fighter with plenty of desire to win. I come with the same mindset of winning, doing my job and continuing to make history.”
McWilliams Arroyo has just stopped late replacement Abraham Rodriguez in the fifth round to win the WBC flyweight interim title in the final undercard bout of the night, which means Álvarez and Yıldırım should be making their ringwalks shortly.