By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has agreed to a deal with Matchroom Boxing for a title defense of his WBC 168lb belt against Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) on DAZN in the United States on May 8th.
According to Mike Coppinger, if Canelo gets past Yildirim, his next fight on DAZN will be on May 8th, barring any injury issues.
Canelo’s May 8th fight candidates are WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) and IBF champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs).
Billy Joe Saunders expected to be Canelo’s May 8th opponent
Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn revealed on Friday that he’s confident that he’ll get a deal done with Canelo for him guy Billy Joe to face the Mexican star on the Cinco de Mayo holiday on May 8th.
Hearns says his only concern is whether Saunders will be happy with the deal that he offers him.
If Saunders doesn’t like the financial situation or if he’s not pleased with the amount of time he has to trim off weight, he’ll turn the fight down.
We saw Saunders reject a fight with Canelo last year over the amount of time he had to train, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he does that again.
If so, Canelo will likely face Plant for his IBF title. That won’t be an easy fight either for him to try and negotiate.
Plant and Saunders have Canelo in a good position to get a better deal than they otherwise would be getting because he wants their titles so that he can become the undisputed 168-lb champion.
Alvarez getting a free pass by his fans
Canelo’s fans don’t mind that he’s taking on an obscure, ring rusty fighter in Yildirim, 29, for his next fight rather than someone with a chance of beating him.
They point out that Canelo is making a mandatory defense of his World Boxing Council 168lb title that he picked up last December with his win over the previous #1 fighter in the division in Callum Smith.
Whatever excuses Canelo’s fans have in him choosing to fight Yildirim, they don’t hide the fact that this weak opponent, who has no business being the mandatory with the WBC.
Yildirim lost his last fight against Anthony Dirrell in 2019, and he hasn’t fought in two years. Further, Yildirim was knocked out in three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr in 2017, and now Canelo wants to fight him in the main event on February 27th on DAZN.
Yildirim being the WBC mandatory can be viewed as a convenient excuse for Canelo to take an easy fight for good money on DAZN.
U.S boxing fans want to see Canelo fight these fighters:
- Jermall Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- David Benavidez
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dimitry Bivol
What’s more than a little troubling is that Canelo never showed interest in becoming the undisputed champion at 160 and 175.
Some would argue that it would have been too risky for Alvarez to become the undisputed champion in those weight classes because he would have to go through Charlo, Andrade, and GGG at 160 Beterbiev and Bivol at 175.
The 168-lb division is perfect for Canelo with all the champions beatable, now that David Benavidez is no longer a belt holder. Would Canelo be eager to try and unify the 168lb division if he had to run the gauntlet by going through Charlo, Benavidez, Beterbiev, and Bivol?
I think it goes without saying that Canelo wouldn’t even consider trying to become the undisputed champion at 168 if those fighters held belts in that weight class.
Canelo hasn’t shown interest in fighting any of those guys, which is a pretty good indication that he doesn’t like his chances of beating them.
“Sources: Canelo Alvarez and Matchroom Boxing have agreed on major deal-points toward a Feb. 27 title defense vs. Avni Yildirim on DAZN in the U.S. Still a few considerations being negotiated. Alvarez would then turn around and fight May 5 if no injury sustained,” said @MikeCoppinger.