Chris Eubank Jr reacts to Canelo fighting Yildirim on Feb.27th
By Dan Ambrose: Chris Eubank Jr doesn’t think much of Canelo Alvarez’s choice of fighting Avni Yildirim in his next fight on February 27th. Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) says he doesn’t view the 29-year-old Yildirim as an elite-level fighter, and he thinks Canelo should be fighting elite guys each time out rather than mixing in soft fighters.
Eubank Jr. is familiar with Yildirim, having obliterated him in three rounds four years ago in the World Boxing Super Series tourney in October 2017.
Canelo’s excuse for fighting Yildirim (21-2 12 KOs) is he’s his WBC mandatory for his super middleweight title. However, that excuse doesn’t fly given that he’s the Franchise champion and is exempt from needing to make mandatory defenses.
Canelo already avoided making a mandatory defense against Jermall Charlo at 160, thanks to the World Boxing Council making him their Franchise champion. So, it strikes one as being odd that Canelo would suddenly choose to make a mandatory defense at 168 against a fighter that he doesn’t need to with Yildirim.
Is it because Yildirim is a soft target that Canelo is willing to fight him? That’s kind of the way it looks, doesn’t it?
Eubank Jr: Canelo should be fighting elite every time
“Canelo Alvarez is #1,” said Eubank Jr on social media when asked to list in order the guys he wants to fight next. “What can you say?” Eubank Jr said in reacting to Canelo choosing his former knockout victim Yildirim to fight next in February.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. Canelo is in the position where he can do what he wants, and to be fair to the guy, he has earned that. Should he be fighting the elite every single time? He probably should, yeah.
“I wouldn’t consider Avni the elite, but he’s [WBC] mandatory, and Canelo has earned the right to do what he wants. So if he wants to fight him, we can’t really say anything different. I’m going to watch,” said Eubank Jr.
Canelo should be fighting elite every time out, but he hasn’t been doing that since 2018.
Unless you consider Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Rocky Fielding, and Daniel Jacobs elite, Canelo hasn’t been fighting elite opposition since his close, controversial 12 round majority decision win over Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018.
You’d have to know boxing to realize that the guys that Canelo has been fighting in the last three years haven’t been elite. The casuals look at those fighters and figure, ‘Yeah, they’re elite.’ No, they’re not.
Elite fighters at 175:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dimitry Bivol
- Joe Smith Jr
Elite fighters at 168:
- David Benavidez
- Bektemir Melikuziev
- Edgar Berlanga
- Caleb Plant – *Borderline elite
Elite fighters at 160:
- Jermall Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- Gennadiy Golovkin
The only guy in those three divisions that Canelo has fought is GGG, and he deserved losses against him in both of their two fights in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans.
Alvarez & Golovkin on Eubank Jr’s shortlist
“Canelo, GGG #2,” said Eubank Jr in picking the top two fighters he wants to face. “He’s [Golovkin] been on my radar for years, and he has a middleweight title [IBF], he’s still looking sharp, he’s still looking dangerous, and he’s still the guy to beat in the middleweight division.
“#3 is the fight that makes the most sense really is Ryota Murata because he is the WBA Super [World] middleweight,” Eubank Jr continued.
“I’m the WBA interim world champion, so I’m the #1 contender for that belt. So that fight makes a lot of sense, and that’s a fight that I know I can win.
“And so hopefully we can get that fight done, because like I said, it’s belt-collecting season.
“I want these belts and these fights. I don’t know what’s going on with the WBA regular world title. That would be something I would be ordered to fight for because I’m WBA interim.
“I don’t know how it works or if I can go straight for the Super [WBA middleweight champion Murata]. You would know that,” said Eubank Jr.
“If it makes dollars, it makes sense. With the Murata fight, I’ll be in touch with them as well,” said Eubank Jr’s promoter Kalle Sauerland.
Eubank Jr is hoping to fight Golovkin later this year in a long-awaited match. The two were supposed to fight in 2016, but Chris had the rug pulled out from under him for that match. Promoter Eddie Hearn gave the match to Kell Brook, and left Eubank Jr on the sidelines.
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