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Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim In-Depth Preview and Odds

Canelo Alvarez

By Brad Marchetti: This Saturday boxing’s supreme practitioner will be on display when Mexican bomber Canelo Alvarez, 54-1-2, 36 KO’s, defends his super-middleweight title against top-10 contender Avni Yildirim, 21-2, 12 KO’s, from the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.

The oddsmakers have given the little-known Turkish tough guy Yildirim a slim chance to win (less than 2%) as a 60 to 1 betting underdog against Canelo but the nameless Yildirim has the look of a serious opponent that could make for an interesting scrap. The undisputed middleweight and newly minted super-middleweight champion Alvarez will be making the first defense of his 168 strap in what is expected to be a layup but can the musclebound Yildirim spoil the party? Below is an in-depth look at this intriguing match-up of superstar vs. unknown.

Age and Physical Equipment

Alvarez: Good upper-body strength at 5’8” weighing near 172-174 lbs. after weigh-in but has a smallish middleweight frame…Average arm length and reach 70″…Well-conditioned but added muscle mass has deflated stamina somewhat…Excellent hand-speed that has improved after Amir Khan fight…Bull-neck is attached to an iron jaw…Shredded torso has absorbed body shots from the best proving to be durable…Can be cut but has rubbery skin…Low odometer miles despite having boxed 15 years with a limited amateur career keeping him fresher than one might expect from a 30-year old.

Canelo Alvarez

Yildrim: Large super-middleweight with a weight lifters frame at 5’11” weighing near 184-186 after weigh-in…Wide shouldered with above-average arm length with a 73″ reach…Ordinary hand speed but knows how to set up left hook and land looping punches from unusual angles…Knocked out once in his career by heavy hitter Chris Eubank Jr. but has displayed a solid pair of whiskers otherwise…Plenty of heart and determination…Thick waistline helps shakes off body shots and dig in the trenches…Still fresh at 29 years old with 10+ years as a pugilist…Thick skin is resilient to cuts but mug is susceptible to swelling…

STYLE

Alvarez: Picture perfect technician with extreme poise, boxing skill, and laser focus…One of the hardest punchers in boxing looking to knock foes grapefruit into the third row….Expert body puncher…One of the smartest fighters in the game with the ability to make in-fight adjustments from a wealth of big-fight experience…Began career as more of a boxer/mover but is now a patient seek and destroy bomber that counterpunches with precision at mid-range…Full artillery to the head or body but left-hook has the most thunder…Uses a stiff rapid-fire jab to set up bombs but the stick has been less active in recent bouts…Aggressive and confident with excellent killer instinct…Multi-faceted defense makes him one of the slickest defensive fighters in the game…Purple-hearted and intimidating with an aura of invincibility having beaten the best of the best.

Yildirim: Pressure fighter with excellent toughness….Not fast or flashy but is a determined blue-collar scrapper that comes to fight…Heavy-handed but not a one-punch knockout guy…Uses a sneaky, powerful jab to get in close and rip the body…At his best when he can work inside and batter foes with uppercuts and hooks…Can muscle opponents in the clinch with physical strength…Fires shots with bad intentions looking to trade when the opponent is willing…Mixes up short shots with diversity in the trenches…Experienced veteran that knows his way around the ring…Gritty competitor with plenty of heart and determination.

Canelo Alvarez

DEFENSE

Alvarez: Frame of a middleweight, not a super-middle or light-heavy….Despite being known for his offensive prowess is one of the most elusive boxers in the game…Eagle-like ring vision and anticipation…Rolls with punches like a slippery rock…Holds his hands high and tight, always in a position to counterpunch…Master of distance that knows how to use his jab to defend…Subtle side-to-side head movement is a thing of beauty…

Yildirim: Employs a Gennady Golovkin-esque defensive style with hands glued to his head while coming forward…Not much of a counterpuncher but can block a punch and return fire with the best of them…Head is a stationary target giving opponents opportunities to work around and between the gloves when in a shell defense…Jab works as an effective defensive weapon that keeps opponents honest…

WEAKNESSES

Alvarez: Short with below-average reach and size for a super-middleweight…Loads up punches too often having fallen in love with his power…Can be outboxed with lateral movement by track stars…In his lone loss against Mayweather was never able to get into a rhythm, handcuffed by feints, counterpunches, and movement…

Yildirim: Coming off a one-year layoff…Ordinary athleticism…Somewhat methodical and predictable offensively at mid and long-range…Stamina fades in the second half of bouts…Hole in defense for uppercuts has improved but is still a flaw…Limited head-movement…Durable but tends to eat huge punches because of aggressive style…Flatfooted with below-average agility…

THE QUESTIONS: Is Canelo overlooking Yildrim? Is the Turk being dismissed because of his knockout loss to Eubank Jr.? The best prizefighters will tell you that it’s difficult to get up for certain opponents is Canelo fully focused? Yildirim has the look of a poor man’s Gennady Golovkin can he employ this style to pressure and batter the smaller man? Will Canelo use his movement and skill to box or will he slug with the brawler?

OUTCOME and BETTING PICKS: Most pundits expect Alvarez to destroy the unknown Turk but Canelo is fighting a bigger man with heavy-hands. Chris Eubank Jr. blasted Yildirim with his patented uppercuts but after the Eubank Jr. loss Yildirim has improved against the uppercut. For all of Yildirim’s athletic limitations, he has an excellent jab and can punch with either hand. Expect a competitive scrap with Alvarez winning on the scorecards 116-112 to cash in on the Yildirim loss by decision prop bet at +800.

Odds: Alvarez -4500/Yildirim +1300 Moneyline

Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL

TV: PPV

Time: 11:00 PM ET

“You better check out this boy you’re going to fight…He looks like he means business.” -Apollo Creed’s trainer Rocky I




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