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Avni Yildirim will mentally frustrate Canelo Alvarez says trainer Joel Diaz

Image: Avni Yildirim will mentally frustrate Canelo Alvarez says trainer Joel Diaz

By Jeff Aronow: Trainer Joel Diaz is talking about wanting Avni Yildirim to “mentally frustrate” Canelo Alvarez in their main event fight on February 27th on DAZN.

Unfortunately, Diaz isn’t giving away his secrets on how the WBC mandatory Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) will be able to frustrate WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) enough to beat him.

Canelo didn’t look comfortable in his two fights with Gennadiy Golovkin when being pressured continued.

If you’re Yildirim, that would be the common sense approach to going about trying to beat Alvarez. Yildirim needs to throw with full power with every shot, and not lighten up to improve his accuracy. That would work if Yildirim was trying to win a decision, but he can forget about that.

It’s safe to assume that Yildirim won’t beat Canelo by a decision, so that’s not even worth trying. The only way to beat Canelo is to knock him out, and that means Yildirim will need to pressure him, not let him rest, and throw a lot of punches.

Yildirim and Alvarez will be meeting in front of a crowd expected to be 15,000 on February 27th at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Yildirim will take Canelo out of his comfort zone

“One of the first things we’re going to do with Canelo is to get him out of his comfort zone,” said Yildirm’s trainer Joel Diaz to DAZN. “If he’s in his comfort zone, he’s in control. You cannot let him be in his comfort zone.

Image: Avni Yildirim will mentally frustrate Canelo Alvarez says trainer Joel Diaz

“You got to frustrate him mentally. Physically he’s a strong fighter, smart. That’s the reason why we cannot let him fight in his comfort zone, and we must always frustrate him from the beginning.

“Once he starts becoming frustrated, he loses his rhythm,” said Diaz of Canelo. ‘Those are some of the keeps that we’ve got to work on, and we’ve been working on them.

“Other than that, the physical part, the plan of attack, I’m not going to expose anything. We’ve got a great plan of attack. As I said from the beginning, I want people to believe what they saw in his last previous fight.

“I like that because they’re going to be based on that. They’re going to have a big surprise. Once Avni gets in the ring, Avni is going to be well known after the fight. Well known among the fans around the world,” said Diaz.

The only way to take Canelo out of his comfort zone is to go on the attack from the first bell, and not let Canelo have a breather.

With Gennadiy Golovkin, he was too hesitant to throw nonstop punches the way he needed to against Canelo. All the hesitation from Golovkin let Canelo get the rest breaks that he needed for him to survive for 12 rounds in their two fights.

Yildirim can throw 80 to 100 punches per round, he’s got a good chance of tiring Canelo out by running him ragged.

Diaz has made improvements with Avni

“He says, ‘Coach, I’m your soldier. You tell me what to do, and I receive your orders. I go for it,” Diaz said of Yildirim.

Image: Avni Yildirim will mentally frustrate Canelo Alvarez says trainer Joel Diaz

“This guy is not only a gym rat, but he’s also a smart fighter, and he’s about learning,” Diaz said of Yildirim. “He never complains. It doesn’t matter how hard the work I put in him, he never complains. He does it.

“That’s the reason why I like Avni. He’s the type of fighter that every trainer would like to have. He doesn’t complain, and he just does what you tell him. I think he’s a true soldier.

“If I tell him to do it, he’ll do it and won’t ask why or when. He’ll just do it. Even though he’s an underdog, he’s fighting for his country and his fans.

“He doesn’t care what anyone says in regards to him being an underdog. He’s going to shock people and the fans.

‘I believe in myself. I don’t care what anyone says,” says Yildirim.

“Many fans saw Avni Yildirim’s last fight against Anthony Dirrell, which he lost. Which changes have you made to Avni?” said Chris Mannix.

“The changes I’ve made with Avni. He’s a completely different fighter than when he fought Dirrell,” said Diaz. “If he were to fight Anthony Dirrell, he would knock him out in two rounds.

“Avni is a physically stronger fighter, but he had no defense when he came to me. That’s why they call him ‘The Robot.’ Right now, there’s no robot in this guy, I can tell you. But the thing is this.

“I made a complete transformation because I dedicated time to him. The COVID situation helped me to help him because there was nothing to do, there were no fights.

“So just to keep him busy and keep myself busy, we would go to the gym and work on technique, work on defense, work on offense, making him a better fighter,” said Diaz of the improvements he’s made with Avni.

Diaz says he’s improved Yildirim’s defense, and he’s no longer ‘Mr. Roboto’ any longer, but we’ll see.

The main thing that was missing from Yildirim’s game in the past was head movement, and his failure to keep his hands up when attacking.

Making changes in those areas will certainly help. But whether they’ll be enough for Yildirim to beat Canelo is another thing altogether.

Diaz won’t give away the game plan

“It’s something we’re going to keep to ourselves,” said Diaz on the changes he’s made in Yildirim’s game since he took over as his trainer. “We like that everyone sees Avni as a robot, one-dimensional, coming forward and taking a beating.

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“I like that. To me, I’m not going to expose anything more than that because that’s what I want people to think. I want people to see what they want to see.

“They’re going to go back and see the Dirrell and Eubank fights. I want that because it gives people something to talk about. But when Avni gets in the ring, I guarantee you, because I saw him spar today, I saw him spar on Saturday.

“I’m like ‘Wow.’ I’m so happy with his performance today, and so happy with his performance on Saturday. We still have quite a bit of land to clear.

“He’s only getting better with the weeks that we’ve got. Once I arrived, he picked it up after just two rounds because he’s smart.

“He’s not just Avni the robot. He’s a completely different transformed fighter. We prepared him last week, we got him some sparring. He looked really good, but he’s going to get better. Today, he looked phenomenal.

“There are little things we need to work on, but we still have plenty of time. I’m not only a person that is training him physically, I’m training him mentally. That’s what makes it interesting,” said Diaz.

Yildirim has never shown any variety to his game in terms of his offense, and it’s not likely that he’ll try and change things up now. He’s not going to outbox Canelo, and he’d be a fool to try.

The best thing Yildirim can do is unload on Canelo with everything he’s got, especially in the early rounds. Yildirim has got to make Canelo work hard to tire him out, and then go for the knockout in the second half.

February 27th will be Yildirim’s coming out party

The thing is this; we are in the entertainment business, and we are going to give the fans a great fight. It’s part of the show,” Diaz said in hinting that Yildirim would be going to war on February 27th.

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“A lot of people don’t know who Avni is. Just like every other fighter, they don’t know him, but eventually, they will. They’ll know who Avni is after February 27th.

“There are firefights in sparring. That’s where everything starts. In the gym, I’m on him. he’s the only person I’m focused on right now. I’m next to him the entire time during training.

“Not only physically preparing him, but psychologically. I want him to listen to the voices of the commands. I command over and over.

“And I want you to do this or that,’ and I yell at him just so that I know that the day of the fight, he listens to me.

“I am the voice of command, and I understand the situation of the fight. Like I told him, opportunities come once in a lifetime. If you let them go, they may not come around again.

“It’s already here, take advantage of it. Many times I’ve seen in boxing history, a fighter takes the opportunity to take a fight and they shock the world. He has a lot of possibilities, a lot of chance.

“And he is a smart fighter, heavy-handed with both hands and physically strong. He has all the tools. If I knew myself that he didn’t have the possibility, he didn’t have the chance; honestly, I would have stayed at home.

“I have a whole team of fighters back in my gym. I’m here because I believe in him, and he believes in me. Everybody that knows my career, they know that I’ve always been an underdog,” Diaz added.

We’ve already seen in Canelo’s fights that it’s impossible to beat him by staying on the outside, jabbing and moving. Fighting like that has only worked for Floyd Mayweather.

For Yildirim to try and win, he’s going to have to use the Gennadiy Golovkin blueprint and take the fight to Canelo. Yildirim will need to go to Canelo’s body a lot more than GGG did, as he completely ignored his body.

If Yildirim just focuses on headshots, Canelo will make him miss all night long and counter him. Going to the body will make Canelo drop his guard, which will open up his head for punches.

Yildirim going for all the marbles

“If you put in your work, you’re going to get great results,” Diaz continued. “I don’t slack with my fighters. I’m 100% a trainer from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep because I have a lot of pride.

“When I lose, it takes me days to recover from a loss. That’s why I have a lot of pride. When I go into a fight my objective is to win regardless.

“We’re going to put up a great fight, I guarantee you, but we’re going to be looking for the victory. We’re not going just to show up to show up; otherwise, I wouldn’t show up.

“I don’t like to go to a fight to a fight and say, ‘I’m just going to try.’ There’s no such thing as trying.

“We’re going for all the marbles, I’m telling you. I know that Canelo Alvarez is the top fighter at the moment.

“I understand the situation and everything. We are taking advantage of the opportunity. And we thank the Canelo team. We thank Canelo for this opportunity.

“We’re grateful for it, but we’ve got to take advantage of it. Now we’re going to work hard to take advantage of the opportunity. Everybody walks into the ring with a plan, and obviously, Canelo as a plan of his own,” said Diaz.

Yildirim must go all out in this fight because this may be his last chance to win a world title.

If the 29-year-old Avni gets obliterated by Canelo in the same way he was by Chris Eubank Jr in 2017, it’s unlikely he’ll ever get another title shot.

It’s already questionable about the World Boxing Council’s rationale for making Yildirim the mandatory at 168, considering that he lost his last fight to Anthony Dirrell.

That’s like an NFL team losing the championship game and still being allowed to go to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t make sense.

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