By Matt Lieberman: Canelo Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) made easy work of Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) on Saturday night with a clinical third-round knockout victory in defense of his WBA/WBC super middleweight titles on DAZN in front of a small crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Canelo, 30, had target practice tonight, hitting the punching bag-like Yildirim with left hooks, uppercuts, straight rights, and body shots. One can’t remember a challenger looking as totally inept as Yildirim did tonight.
Yeah, this reflects on the WBC for them making him their mandatory despite him coming off a loss. It also stains Canelo in the process because he wanted this fight, and it made him look bad it wasn’t remotely competitive.
You name it, Canelo was landing it. He had free reign to throw anything in the book because Yildirim was behind his guard like a punching bag, and was crazy to watch.
With Yildirim looking spaced out, Canelo hit him at will with shots, and nothing came back.
It was strange to watch this fight because Yildirim didn’t belong in the ring with Canelo. In the third, Canelo threw a straight right that split Yildirim’s card and put him on the canvas.
Yildirim looked like he froze under the spotlight, as he didn’t let his hands go at all until his corner pulled him out at the end of the third.
It’s inexplicable to understand what went wrong with Yildirim to cause him not to throw power shots during the fight. Was he stuck between styles, and not wanting to leave himself open by fighting in a reckless manner?
That’s the only thing that makes sense because he didn’t get his shots off. I mean, Yildirim did throw jabs, but that was the full extent of his offense tonight.
If you’ve watched Yildirim fight in the past, he’s known for throwing power shots and attacking his opponents. Tonight we didn’t see that from Yildirim, and it makes you wonder if he was injured from the start of the fight.
It’s unclear what Yildirim said that caused his trainer Joel Diaz to suddenly halt the fight because he initially told him he would give him one more round.
For Diaz to suddenly change his mind and stop it, something had to have made him uncomfortable about letting the fight continue.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) February 28, 2021
You’d like to give Canelo credit for a good win, but you can’t call this a quality victory on account of how terrible Yildirim looked. This is what you get when you insist on fighting a guy that hasn’t fought in two years and is coming off a loss to Anthony Dirrell.
The warning signs were already there that Canelo had another Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on his hands in the form of Yildirim, which is why he shouldn’t have agreed to fight this guy. The World Boxing Council would have let Canelo bypass Yildirim if he’d asked, but he didn’t do it. This is a fight that Canelo wanted, and I guess you can see why.